Water Quality Standards Fact Sheet

Update WV’s Water Quality Standards with EPA-recommended Human Health Protections

Why are West Virginians at increased risk from toxins and cancer-causing chemicals

Currently, our state water quality standards that limit the amount of toxins and cancer-causing chemicals in our drinking water sources are based on science conducted prior to 1985. EPA recommends that West Virginia update its standards to adequately protect human health based on better, more up-to-date science that is now available. WVDEP proposed some of these recommended updates, but in November the Joint Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee voted to remove those updated protections. In January, the Senate EIM Committee voted unanimously to restore the updated protections as recommended by WVDEP. Now the bill (SB 167)will go before the full senate.

Why were updates to drinking water protections removed?

It’s clear and simple – the legislative committee bowed to the wishes of polluting industries. The WV Manufacturers Association asked the committee to remove the updates, and they did. Years of scientific study to protect the public from dangerous toxins in our drinking water sources were pushed aside to benefit industrial polluters.

What can the WV Legislature do now to protect our health?

The Legislature has the chance to ensure our water is protected. We need residents from across the state to insist lawmakers protect public health and adopt EPA-recommended human health criteria. Otherwise, they are leaving us vulnerable while other states take steps to protect drinking water and their citizens.

Why is this an urgent issue?

Because our lives depend on it. It’s time to stand up and say, “We deserve better!” We shouldn’t have to worry about our drinking water being harmful to our health because the Legislature refuses to do what’s right in protecting our citizens. The science is available, now we need the political will from our lawmakers to put our health above big polluters. Don’t let the people of West Virginia pay the price with increasing cancer rates. It’s time to apply the science, protect our water, protect our health.

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