West Virginia

Department of
Health & Human Resources

Public Health Progressing with Implementation of SB373: Stakeholders are engaged in Source Water Protection Plan development tools

9/19/2014

​DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling today announced the Bureau for Public Health’s progress in the implementation of public health requirements of Senate Bill 373.  The legislation, enacted this year, requires public water utilities using surface water and surface water influenced groundwater sources to complete a Source Water Protection Plan to protect source waters and prepare for emergencies that may compromise the water supply.

Health officials from the Office of Environmental Health Services (OEHS) responsible for implementing the public health requirements defined in SB373 hosted a meeting with subject matter experts including public water system professionals and consultants. On August 21, 2014, representatives from WV American Water, Morgantown Utility Board, Beckley Water Company, Parkersburg Utility Board, WV Rural Water Associates, Down Stream Strategies, Tetra Tech and Regional Planning and Development Councils gathered to discuss the development of an online Source Water Protection Plan submission tool. 

“We wanted to hear their concerns and their needs,” said Walt Ivey, director of OEHS.  “We are now in the process of developing a reporting system where public water utilities can compile and submit their Source Water Protection Plans online.  We have already developed a model for that type of system which will help us ensure that all Source Water Protection Plans for public water systems are consistent and contain all of the necessary and appropriate information.”  
 
Ivey said OEHS began work on the implementation of SB373 after its passage during the 2014 Legislative Session.  In order to determine how to fulfill the public water utility requirements, OEHS surveyed public water utilities to capture information about existing plans.   Legislative rules have been drafted and public comments were accepted.  The rules have been filed with the Secretary of State’s Office to be considered during the 2015 Legislative Session. 

“We are making steady progress on the public water utility requirements defined in Senate Bill 373,” said Ivey.  “West Virginia now has one of the strongest regulations in place to protect our water supply. We will continue to work with public water utilities as they begin to prepare their Source Water Protection Plans.”

SB373 (West Virginia code §16-1-4, §16-1-9a, and §16-1-9c) requires public water utilities using surface water and surface water influenced by groundwater sources to complete a Source Water Protection Plan.  These plans are considered voluntary at the federal level, but are now mandatory in West Virginia. 

Contact Information

Allison C. Adler ■ DHHR Director of Communications ■ (304) 558-7899 ■ allison.c.adler@wv.gov