More than 47,000 storage tanks registered so far

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The deadline has passed, but aboveground storage tanks throughout West Virginia are still being registered with the state Department of Environmental Protection as required in the Aboveground Storage Tank Act.

As of Tuesday morning, Scott Mandirola, the director of the DEP’s Division of Water and Waste Management, said 47,557 tanks had been registered.

“There are still registrations in progress so we did not cut it off at Oct. 1, but we recognize that some folks are having a little bit more difficulty than others getting registered and we’re continuing to accept registrations,” Mandirola reported on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

The next deadline within the Aboveground Storage Tank Act comes on Dec. 3 when a Spill Prevention Response Plan for each tank determined to be within a zone of critical concern — meaning the tank poses a threat to water supplies — must be submitted to the DEP.

Jan. 1 is the deadline for inspections for all of the registered tanks.

Only those tanks classified as Level I, those deemed “high risk” to the public, must be inspected by a certified engineer before the New Year. Tanks classified as Level II, “lesser risk,” or Level III, “low risk,” have less stringent inspection requirements to meet.

Mandirola said between six and seven percent of the tanks registered, up to this point, are located directly within zones of critical concern or wellhead protection areas.

With the tank registrations, Mandirola said state officials now have the kind of information that did not have before the Jan. 9 Freedom Industries chemical spill on the Elk River that contaminated tap water for an estimated 300,000 West Virginians.

“We’re much better off insofar as we know where the materials are,” Mandirola said.

“We’ve got a lot of statistics to run, a lot research in looking at these 47,000 tanks, but, at least, we know where these materials are stored. We know how many of them are within the zones of critical concern and may pose a drinking water risk.”

Guidance for compliance with the Aboveground Storage Tank Act is available at the state Department of Environmental Protection’s website.

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