Capito introduces bill to inspect and monitor chemical storage facilities

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) introduced the Ensuring Access to Clean Water Act on Tuesday, which would establish a system to inspect and monitor chemical storage facilities that use aboveground storage tanks.

The measure would require states to institute chemical inspection and oversight programs. The EPA would create programs to do so for states that don’t have them in place.

The recent chemical spill in Charleston, W.Va., highlights gaps in existing regulations that must be closed, Capito said.

“Chemical storage facilities and aboveground storage tanks must be routinely inspected, particularly if they are located near rivers,” Capito said. “Public utilities must know what chemicals are nearby and how to respond should chemicals enter the water system. I urge Congress to pass this critical legislation to ensure that everyone in America has access to clean water in their homes.”

The bill would set minimum requirements for state oversight and inspection programs pertaining to design standards, leak detection, spill and overfill control, emergency response and employee training.

An inventory of chemical facilities in each state would also be required under the measure, and penalties would be established for violating requirements or orders.

Owners and operators of public water companies would be allowed to file civil actions or petitions with the state to address chemical storage activities that could endanger public health under Capito’s bill.