Leaking MCHN tanks at Freedom Industries are being off loaded into tanker trucks in Charleston, West Virginia, Jan. 10, 2014.
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W. Va. gov proposes new regulation legislation


West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is proposing new regulations on above-ground storage tanks in light of the chemical spill that contaminated the state’s water supply for as many as 300,000 people earlier this month.

“The discharge of chemicals or other contaminants into our water supply is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Tomblin said in a statement Monday. “This proposed legislation includes reasonable, common sense provisions to regulate above ground storage tanks across the state including those located in areas of critical concern near our public water supply and distribution systems.”

The proposal comes as criticism mounts against the state for not regularly inspecting the storage tanks that held the chemical 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM). The tanks, which are located upstream from the West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant, are owned by Freedom Industries and reportedly had not been inspected since 1991.

State officials claim that the tanks were used for storage only, not processing, which exempted them from regular reports and inspections.

Although the ‘do not use’ water ban has been lifted for the majority of the affected towns, pregnant women are advised to continue using bottled water. Tomblin also said Monday at a news conference that all residents should use the natural water supply only if they feel comfortable.

“It’s your decision,” he said.