WVa chemical spill bill awaits governor signature

11:17 PM, Mar 8, 2014   |    comments
Workers pump 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process, out of a 48,000-gallon tank at Freedom Industries, a chemical storage facility, in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Tyler Evert)
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A bill responding to the chemical spill that tainted 300,000 West Virginians' water needs Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's signature to become law.

During Saturday's finish to the legislative session, the House of Delegates cast a 10 p.m. final vote to impose new safeguards on above-ground storage tanks and water systems. The Senate agreed to most of the House's bill Thursday evening.

Lawmakers say the bill reforms a regulatory gray area by adding inspections at many above-ground storage tanks. About 150 water systems would need protection plans by July 2016.

The bill calls for a long-term health monitoring program, since little is known about long-term health effects of the spilled chemicals.

The water company in the spill would need to install early detection technology for contaminants or explain why it can't.

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