West Virginia House Votes to Revise Water Pollution Limits

CHARLESTON– West Virginia’s House has approved legislation to allow larger pollution discharges into the state’s waterways by individual industrial sites.

The proposal adopted 63-37 would authorize the Department of Environmental Protection to calculate water pollution limits for cancer-causing and other chemicals using an average-flow figure – called the “harmonic mean” – rather than low-flow waterway volume now used to calculate dilution and determine allowable discharge amounts.

The change has long been sought by the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, which says it will help redevelopment of vacant industrial properties.

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition says that and another adopted revision on “mixing zones” of discharges from multiple industrial sites would lower protections from toxins in the state’s drinking water.

Sponsors say the overall standard for drinking water sources remains unchanged.

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