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Johnathan Clark

Policy Intern

Johnathan Clark | January 12, 2022

States Should Act to Protect People and Our Environment from Unregulated Chemical Tanks

On the morning of January 9, 2014, residents of Charleston, West Virginia, noticed an unusual licorice-like odor in their tap water. Within hours, a federal state of emergency was declared as 300,000 West Virginia residents were advised to avoid contact with their tap water, forcing those affected to rely on bottled water until the water supply was restored over one week later. As detailed in our recent report, Tanks for Nothing: The Decades-long Failure to Protect the Public from Hazardous Chemical Spills, the West Virginia Legislature moved quickly to address demands for increased regulatory oversight of aboveground chemical storage tanks (ASTs). With the memory of the spill still fresh in the minds of legislators and constituents, West Virginia enacted the Aboveground Storage Tank Act in 2014. The program primarily serves two major functions: to enact and enforce standards to reduce the risk of a future spill, and to make information about regulated tanks available to state regulators and the public.