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Implications of Senate Bill 373

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March 11, 2014

One of the most significant acts to come out of the 2014 West Virginia Legislature was Senate Bill 373, which authorized two new programs that will be of interest to many businesses in the state:  the Aboveground Storage Tank Act (the AST Act) and the Public Water Supply Protection Act (the PWSP Act). 

The AST Act will apply to ASTs with a capacity of more than 1320 gallons, and more than 90% above the surface.  Most mobile tanks are exempt. The owners or operators of ASTs must register them with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and provide certain information about them so the DEP can develop an inventory of ASTs in West Virginia.  Most ASTs must also be permitted, and will have to comply with stringent new performance standards.  The standards will be developed by the DEP in rulemaking that will take place during 2014. Facilities will be required to put signs on ASTs, prepare release prevention and response plans, and provide financial assurance of the ability to respond to releases.  If a release occurs, the DEP can order the offending party to undertake corrective action, or can take such action itself.   Penalties apply for failure to comply with the Act.

The PWSP Act is an effort to identify potential sources of significant contamination that are within a public water supply’s zone of critical concern.    These potential sources are not limited to ASTs; they include all potential sources, including material stockpiles and consumer goods, if the  DEP determines they present a significant risk of contamination. The DEP can also require permits for facilities that aren’t already required to have permits, if necessary to protect public water supplies.  All facilities that  have general NPDES permits and are located within a zone of critical concern will be required to get individual NPDES permits.