Ashton Marra Published

Senate Approves Bill to Scale Back Storage Tank Law


Senators approved 30-1 a bill that will scale back the state’s above ground storage tank law approved in 2014. The law came as a reaction to the Freedom Industries’ chemical spill into the Kanawha River that left 300,000 West Virginians without usable water for as many as ten days.

Senate Bill 423 separates tanks into two levels, with level one tanks receiving the highest level of scrutiny from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Level one tanks include:

  • Any tank containing 50,000 gallons or more
  • Any tank containing a federally defined hazardous material
  • Any take located five hours upstream of a public water intake

Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Trump called the 2014 law “too broad” and said the focus of the new bill was to tighten the scope so the DEP could be focused on the tanks that have the greatest potential to cause harm to drinking water.

“I think the breadth of last year’s act suggests that the final act, the act that was passed by the House and sent to the governor, went substantially beyond the protection of drinking water. We tried in drafting this bill to remain focused on drinking water,” he said.

The 2014 Above Ground Storage Tank Act put some 50,000 tanks under the DEP’s purview. Trump says this bill will lessen the scope to about 5,000 tanks.