DEP to Propose New Water Standards on Dissolved Solids

Source : Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia regulators plan to propose a new water quality standard aimed at least in part at protecting state rivers and streams from pollution created by large-scale natural gas drilling.

State Department of Environmental Protection officials unveiled their proposal during a meeting Wednesday in Charleston, and plan to issue it formally for public comment early next month.

The DEP proposal would set a legal limit for “total dissolved solids,” or TDS, of 500 milligrams per liter. It would apply in-stream to waterways statewide, making it more stringent than the existing standard in Pennsylvania, which applies a 500-milligram-per-liter standard only at the intake pipes for public drinking water systems.

“This is proactive to keep West Virginia waters suitable for consumption by our citizens and use by our industries,” said Pat Campbell, an assistant director in the DEP Division of Water and Waste Management.

DEP officials have been considering the proposal for more than a year already. Their studies were prompted by TDS problems that brought complaints about unpleasant odors and tastes in drinking water drawn from the Monongahela River in the fall of 2008. Then last fall, a massive fish kill in Dunkard Creek along the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border was blamed at least in part on TDS pollution.

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