West Virginia Senate Bill No. 373 – The Water Resources Protection Act

April 29, 2014

On April 1, 2014, West Virginia Gov. Tomblin signed Senate Bill No 373, known as the Water Resources Protection Act (Act), into law. This legislation includes the new Aboveground Storage Tank Act (WV Code Chapter 22, Article 30) including definitions and the following requirements:

  • existing tank inventory and registration,
  • tank permitting and performance standards,
  • annual inspection and certification,
  • financial responsibility,
  • corrective actions program for releases, and
  • spill response planning

The requirements of the Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Act are expected to apply to a broad range of industries in West Virginia including, but not limited to, natural gas, manufacturing, mining, power, solid waste, and public institutions with aboveground storage tanks containing more than 1,320 gallons of fluids.  Shipping containers, process vessels and mobile tanks meeting certain requirements will be exempt.  The requirements of the AST Act will be effective June 6, 2014.

The AST Act establishes requirements and deadlines for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and tank owners.  Deadlines are as followed:

  • WVDEP completes the inventory and registration form – July 6, 2014
  • Tank Owners are to submit completed registration forms for existing tanks – October 1, 2014
  • Tank Owners are to submit spill prevention and response plans – December 3, 2014
  • Tank Owners submit annual inspection and certification forms – January 1, 2015

The details and requirements of the registration forms, registration fees and annual inspection and certifications remain to be completed and will need to be monitored as the regulations are developed.

Based on the provisions of the AST Act, the following are expected to be required by the WVDEP:

  • Tank inventory and registration that will include tank location, age, type of construction, capacity, type of fluid stored and distance to nearest groundwater or surface water source used for public water supply
  • A permitting program that will include performance standards for tank design, construction, installation, corrosion prevention, release detection, secondary containment and recordkeeping
  • Annual inspection and certifications submitted by the owners of ASTs prepared by a registered professional engineer, qualified individual working under the engineer’s supervision or individual certified to perform the inspections.
  • Evidence that AST owners have adequate financial responsibility to take corrective actions in the event of a fluid release.
  • The development of corrective action plans taking into consideration releases of fluids and plans for prompt actions in response to releases.
  • The preparation and submittal of spill response plans that are updated every three years.  These plans will include requirements for establishing a facility chain of command, preventative maintenance program for tanks and notification requirements for water supply companies.

The AST Act does include some waivers from the permitting requirements for specific categories of ASTs that either “do not represent a substantial threat of contamination” or  “are currently regulated under standards which meet or exceed the protective  standards  and  requirements  set  forth  in  this article.”  These waivers include: certain pipeline facilities; liquid traps and associated gathering lines related to oil or gas production and gathering operations; surface impoundments, pits, ponds or lagoons; and ASTs for which SPCC plans are required under 40 CFR Part 112 (unless located within a zone of critical concern).  It is important to note that the waiver is only for permitting requirements.  The remaining requirements of the AST Act, including registration and annual inspections, will still be applicable.

The legislation also includes a second new article, the “Public Water Supply Protection Act WV Code Chapter 22, Article 31” (PWS Act), which includes the following requirements:

WVDEP is required to inventory “potential sources of significant contamination” (PSSC) located within “zones of critical concern” for public water systems with water withdrawals from a surface water supply source or a surface water influenced groundwater supply source.  Additionally, the new article will result in more water users being classified as large-quantity water users.  The criterion for large-quantity users is now 300,000 gallons per day in any 30-day period versus the previous criteria of 750,000 gallons per day.

A PSSC is defined as “a facility or activity that stores, uses or produces compounds with potential for significant contaminating impact if released into the source water of a public water supply.”

Sites within a “zone of critical concern” that have ASTs will not be eligible for coverage under General NPDES Permits, and any existing General Permit holders will have to apply for an Individual NPDES Permit by September 1, 2014.

Tracking the progress of the developing regulations, registration and inventory requirements will be important toward meeting the compliance requirement of the AST Act and the PWS Act.  If you have questions about additional requirements of these new Articles, please contact Mr. Tom Maher, P.G., of CEC’s Pittsburgh office at 412-429-2324 or tmaher@cecinc.com.

About the Author

Thomas L. Maher, Jr., P.G.

Tom Maher Jr., P.G., is a Vice President and serves as CEC's corporate Environmental Engineering and Sciences Practice Lead. His areas of expertise are in leading site investigation and remediation projects and in performing environmental permitting, Phase I and II environmental site assessments, and compliance support for industrial facilities.

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