Two Actions You Should Take Today!

West Virginia Environmental Council Reminder
November 11, 2013

Two Actions You Should Take Today!

 Water Quality Standards for Toxic Aluminum: The West Virginia Department of Environmental (DEP) has proposed changes to 47CSR2 – the Water Quality Standards rule – which would allow significantly more pollution from the discharge of aluminum toxic to aquatic life in West Virginia rivers and streams.

The WV Legislature’s Rule-Making Review Committee will consider this rule change next week (Nov. 18 or 19). This is your chance to ask committee members to reject the proposed change.

The proposed revisions are drastic and equate to greater than a 13-fold and 46-fold increase over the current limits for acute and chronic aluminum toxicity to aquatic life respectively.

Citing only minimal scientific justification and flawed scientific analysis for these proposed changes, the rule changes as proposed fail to:

  • Protect the “designated use” of WV streams as required under the federal Clean Water Act.
  • Protect the value of WV’s unique and irreplaceable water resources.
  • Protect the public’s interest, rather than the interests of a small number of polluters (primarily coal mining and quarrying operations) who do not want to pay to treat their waste.

The proposed rule requires the calculation of aluminum limits based on the hardness (or pH) of the stream. The new equation in the rule would significantly weaken stream protections, as compared to the existing rule. As proposed, the rule would weaken the current criterion for trout waters at all hardness values. And, as hardness increases, the standard will become increasingly less stringent. As proposed, the rule would also weaken the current aluminum standards for most warm water streams.

While the changes in the proposed rule are technical and somewhat difficult to understand, our message is simple: The proposed rule must be withdrawn.

Here is how you can contact members of the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee:

Del. Meshea Poore (D – Kanawha) House Committee Chair
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3106

Del. Justin Marcum (D – Mingo)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3126

Del Jeff Eldridge (D – Lincoln)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3113

Del Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D – Monongalia)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3169

Del. Cindy Frich (R – Monongalia)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3125

Del Kelli Sobonya (R – Cabell)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3175

Sen. Herb Snyder (D – Jefferson) Senate Committee Chair
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7957

Sen. Donna J. Boley (R – Pleasants)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7905

Sen. Mike Hall (R – Putnam)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7901

Sen. William R. Laird IV (D – Fayette)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7849

Sen. Ronald F. Miller (D – Greenbrier)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7959

Sen. John R. Unger II (D – Berkeley)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7933

Landfill Tonnage Caps for Shale Drilling Waste

The WV Public Service Commission, which regulates this state’s solid waste landfills, is currently considering a request in Wetzel County that would allow unlimited amounts of shale gas drilling waste (drill cuttings and drilling mud) to be dumped in local landfills.

The Lackawanna Transport Company which operates the Wetzel County Landfill has filed an application with the PSC for a certificate of need to construct and operate a dedicated disposal cell for the disposal of solid drilling wastes.

Under memos recently issued by DEP to landfill operators (but not provided to county Solid Waste Authorities) there is ABSOLUTELY NO LIMIT on the total tonnage of drilling waste going into our landfills. And there is no requirement to monitor these wastes for radioactivity known to be associated with it.

The landfill tonnage caps contained in WV’s landmark Solid Waste Management Act were designed to insure that our landfills could operate well into the future. For more than a year now the PSC and the DEP have allowed the Wetzel landfill (and others) to exceed their legal tonnage limits to accept this drilling waste.

This is your chance to tell the Public Service Commission that this is not acceptable and that you want our landfills to be available for everyone’s grandchildren to use decades from now.

To file a “protest/opposition” comment on this case simply go to this website:

Once there, fill in all the name, address, phone information, etc. Under comment type — choose  “PROTEST”. The comment box will then display “Comment in Protest of Case 13-0832-SWF-CN”.

Here is a list of concerns you can use for your comments:

  • Make sure to ask for a public hearing on this case in New Martinsville.
  • The huge increase in tonnage at the landfill is using up space and shortening its useful life.
  • The existing landfill tonnage caps must be restored.
  • There has been a large increase in traffic near the landfill.
  • The roads near the landfill are being damaged by the increase in heavy truck traffic.
  • Some Marcellus shale drilling wastes are known to be radioactive.
  • The existing leachate treating system may not be able to handle the toxic mix of drill waste products.
  • The liquid discharges from these landfills may pollute streams or groundwater nearby.

It is urgent that you do this now, because the comment period ends on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

Thanks for your attention.

Don Garvin
WVEC Legislative Coordinator

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