Keep WV’s Water Safe — Make Your Voice Heard
Today, July 10, is your last chance to comment on the rules that limit pollution in West Virginia’s rivers and streams. Every three years these rules, known as Water Quality Standards, undergo a revision process called the Triennial Review. The public comment period for the current Triennial Review ends at 8:00pm, this evening, 7/10.
Live near Charleston? You can submit comments in person during a public hearing on this evening at 6:00pm at the WVDEP headquarters in Charleston.
Summary of Revisions and Suggested Comments.
WV Rivers has analyzed WVDEP’s proposed revisions to Water Quality Standards and recommends additions to safeguard human health from waterborne toxins.
You can read our full comments to WVDEP here. We’ve included a summary of key changes and suggested comments below:
Human Health Criteria. EPA updated recommended safe limits for 94 chemical pollutants. These limits are based on the latest scientific information to protect human health. WVDEP has chosen to only adopt the updated limits for 56 pollutants. Learn more.
Request: Adopt all 94 recommended criteria to proactively protect human health.
Overlapping Mixing Zones. Revisions allow for overlapping areas where toxins are allowed to be discharged at levels that exceed safe standards, relying on eventual dilution. Overlapping mixing zones can lead to dangerous combined effects and potential interactions between pollutants. Learn more.
Request: Require evaluation of cumulative effects and interactions between different pollutants on human health before approving overlapping mixing zones.
Request: Specify signage to warn the public that the waterbody contains high levels of pollutants harmful to human health.
Harmonic Mean to calculate discharge limits. Remember the toxic water bill, aka “Cancer Creek bill”, the WV Legislature passed in 2017? Now it’s being implemented with the proposed changes in this rule. The consequence is more toxins and cancer-causing chemicals allowed in our water. The new method, harmonic mean, is not adequate for protecting us from toxins with short-term exposure risks.
Request: Include discretion to apply a more protective method for calculating discharge limits for pollutants known to have short-term exposure risks.