A year after the water contamination catastrophe from the Freedom Industries chemical spill and quick enactment of the West Virginia Aboveground Storage Tank Act, West Virginia Senate Bill 423 has been passed by the Senate and House.  The Bill greatly scales back the number of aboveground storage tanks that would be regulated by the state program.

Despite being passed unanimously by the West Virginia Legislature, the Aboveground Storage Act received much criticism later in 2014 from legislators and tank owners for being too far reaching.  Senate Bill 423 is addressing these concerns by to decreasing the approximate number of regulated tanks from 48,000 to between 10,000 and 12,000.

Bill 423 Highlights

Senate Bill 423 retains the same definition of aboveground storage tank as the original ASTA.  However, it adds the term “Regulated Tank,” split into sub-definitions of level 1 and level 2.

A regulated level 1 aboveground storage tank includes any ASTs within a zone of critical concern, source water protection area, public surface water influenced groundwater supply source area, or any tank designated by the DEP; contains substances defined  in CERCLA or other federal environmental laws (except tanks containing petroleum); or an AST with the capacity of 50,000 gallons or more.

A level 2 regulated tank is defined as an AST that is located within a zone of peripheral concern that is not within the definition for a level 1 tank.  A zone of peripheral concern, another new term added, is a “corridor along streams with a watershed that warrants scrutiny due to its proximity to the surface water intake and the intake’s susceptibility to potential contaminants within the corridor.

The level 1 tanks will be set to a higher standard of tank and secondary containment integrity compared to level 2 tanks.

If a tank was registered with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection under the previous version of the Act, it would satisfy the registration requirement under the new version.

Headed to Governor’s Desk

The last step Senate Bill 423 needs to make is being signed by the Governor.  As Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has spoken in favor of decreasing the regulation of the ASTA, there is little doubt that the revised version will become law.