EPA: W.Va. state regulators missed over 300 streams in list of ailing waters
Over 300 streams were missing from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s most recent list of polluted waters.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Over 300 streams were missing from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s most recent list of polluted waters.
The Environmental Protection Agency found that 346 streams in West Virginia that don’t meet water quality standards were excluded from the most recent list of impaired waters the DEP has to submit to the EPA every two years.
Several of the streams are in Wood County, including Sycamore Run near Mineral Wells.
The water quality standards gauge how capable waters are of supporting life and of providing a safe place for recreation like fishing and swimming.
West Virginia Rivers Coalition Executive Director Angie Rosser says the discrepancy results from DEP using outdated methodologies to gauge the health of streams, rivers, and other bodies of water.
Rosser says having accurate data about stream health is important because it lets the state and the public know where work needs to be done.
“The disadvantage of not using the best data is that we could and we will miss an opportunity to bring a stream back to health,” Rosser said.
WTAP inquired with WVDEP about the EPA’s assessment. DEP Communications Officer Terry Fletcher shared the following statement:
The WVDEP is in the process of reviewing the letter from the U.S. EPA and supporting documentation describing the partial disapproval and intention to make additions to the WV Section 303(d) List. Based on that review, the WVDEP will be providing comments to the EPA regarding their proposed action, due later this month.
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