WVDEP Needs to Hear from You on Water Protections
West Virginia’s Water Quality Standards are supposed to keep our water safe. Every three years the rules that govern what’s in West Virginia’s water undergo a revision process called the Triennial Review. West Virginia is in the midst of this process and WVDEP has released their proposed changes for public comment.
In a previous action alert, we shared information on toxic hotspots in our rivers that would result from WVDEP’s proposed revisions. Another substantial revision deals with something called human health criteria, which set limits on how much of a particular toxin can be in our water before it is dangerous to human health. These criteria make sure that our rivers can produce safe drinking water, as well as make sure they are safe for fishing and swimming.
EPA updated their recommended human health criteria limits for 94 chemical pollutants. In WVDEP’s suggested revisions to Water Quality Standards, they choose to adopt the updated limits for just 56 pollutants. WV Rivers urges WVDEP to adopt all 94 updated pollutant limits for a number of reasons:
- Protecting human health must depend on sound science. It is paramount for human health criteria to be based on the most up-to-date scientific methods and information. EPA’s recommended limits reflect the best research we have available. WVDEP should adopt ALLof EPA’s recommendations for protecting human health.
- Every waterbody in West Virginia already has a fish consumption advisory. It’s time to turn that around and make it safe again to eat fish from our rivers. Through neglecting to update human health criteria for all of EPA’s recommended pollutants, the road to recovery for our rivers stands to be even longer and more difficult.
- Neighboring states are adopting all 94 pollutant limits. Our neighbors in PA and KY have moved to proactively ensure water safety by adopting all 94 of EPA’s recommendations. West Virginians would be put at increased risk than residents of nearby states for dangerous concentrations of the 38 pollutants not updated.
Speak Up Now! Share with WVDEP that you deserve safe water. Request WVDEP adopt all 94 of EPA’s recommended human health criteria limits by commenting on WVDEP’s revisions to Water Quality Standards through July 10. View our fact sheet and submit your comments here. You can also submit comments in person during a public hearing on July 10 at 6:00pm at the WVDEP headquarters in Charleston.