Earl Ray Tomblin, the governor of West Virginia, has signed a bill that will regulate above-ground chemical storage tanks. This is in response to a spill from January of this year that polluted the water supply for approximately 300,000 people.
The bill requires that above-ground tanks in critical areas near public water supplies need to registered with the state Department of Environmental Protection, which will perform annual inspections. The Bureau for Public Health is also required to contact federal agencies to help assess potential long-term health effects associated with the spill.
The January 9th spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (also known as crude MCHM) into the Elk River in Charleston prompted West Virginia to restrict roughly 300,000 people from drinking or bathing in tap water. For some residents, this ban lasted up to 10 days.
The bill also stipulates that West Virginia American Water will install an early monitoring system at its Elk River Plant. Water utilities must have a written plan for possible spills in the water supply.