You may recall that a couple of years ago, the DEP proposed a rule change that would calculate allowable levels of aluminum in streams based on the water’s hardness.
During the 2014 legislative session, the Senate asked the DEP to pull the rule change, because legislators didn’t think it would be a good idea to vote for dirtier water so soon after the Freedom Industries spill.
The proposed “emergency” rule change is back as part of “The Coal Jobs and Safety Act”–H.B. 2566 and S.B. 357–which Rob told you about above.
This change is a bad idea. In waters with relatively high hardness, like those impacted by coal mining, use of the hardness-based criterion can result in an increase of 46 times or more in the allowable level of aluminum. Aluminum toxicity is complex and dependent on many other water quality parameters, like dissolved organic material and pH. There are limited peer reviewed toxicity data available for the relationship between aluminum and hardness, especially in the range of pH 7-9.
Further, this change does not meet the criteria necessary for promulgation of an “emergency” rule, as specified in W.V. code.
How you can help: Contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to delete the emergency rule change for aluminum from H.B. 2566 (scroll down to see a list of e-dresses that you can copy and paste into the “To” field of a single e-mail).