WV Rivers Urges WVDEP to Improve Water Quality Standards While Manufacturers Attempt to Weaken Standards

On December 4, the WVDEP hosted a meeting for the public to hear from the two organizations, WV Manufacturers Association (WVMA) and WV Rivers, that submitted proposals on the human health criteria within our water quality standards. Read our previous blog to learn more about the Human Health Criteria proposal we submitted to WVDEP. The WV Manufacturers Association’s proposal can be found here.

Over 40 people attended the meeting in person or remotely to learn about the proposals. WV Rivers’ made the case for our recommendations to improve water quality and protect the public’s health by:

  1. Using a higher fish consumption rate;
  2. adopting EPA criteria that strengthen standards;
  3. establishing criteria for unregulated chemicals; and
  4.  not weakening any existing standards.

We urged the WVDEP to adopt a fish consumption rate that allows West Virginian’s to eat more fish safely and discouraged the use of a 2008 study that underestimates residents’ fish consumption and does not account for fish consumption advisories.

We also requested that WDEP adopt standards for chemicals which are currently in use but are not regulated. The list includes some of the most toxic chemicals that have been banned for use in other countries.

In our analysis of the WVMA proposal, we pointed out their proposal to weaken the standards for chemicals used in plastic manufacturing which would allow more of these harmful toxics to be discharged into our rivers and streams.

In comparing the WVMA’s proposal, WVDEP’s 2018 proposal, and WV Rivers proposal, WVMA is proposing to weaken over 60% of the standards while WV Rivers is proposing to strengthen over 90% of the standards. The WVMA proposal would allow more pollutants into our water and put the public’s health at risk, in a state with the 3rd highest cancer rate in the county.

WVDEP will consider the two proposals and release their decision in the Spring. As we await WVDEP’s decision, we want to thank each and everyone of you who took action thorough our alerts or made a donation to our Science Fund. Thank you!

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