The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wants to remind the public about new requirements related to large water withdrawals from surface or groundwater sources. The state Water Resources Protection and Management Act was amended in 2014 to include a lower reporting threshold, which will result in additional water users having to report withdrawals. There is also a new requirement that monthly data be collected.
As of Jan. 1, 2015, the new reporting threshold is 300,000 gallons withdrawn from surface or groundwater sources in a 30-day period. The data collected is required to be reported to the DEP starting Jan. 1, 2016. The new threshold brings West Virginia in line with the water withdrawal reporting requirements of most surrounding states.
Also, anyone withdrawing at that 300,000-gallon threshold or higher must begin collecting water use data for each month so the data can be included in an annual survey submitted to the DEP’s Water Use Section of the Division of Water and Waste Management. These annual surveys, completion of which is mandatory under the act, must include the actual monthly water use.
It’s important to note that the Large Quantity User (LQU) classification going forward includes not only any water users who withdraw 300,000 gallons or more in a 30-day period, but also continues to include any entity that bottles water for resale, regardless of the quantity withdrawn. Excluded from this classification is water designated for farm use, including watering livestock or poultry on a farm, though farms are encouraged to voluntarily report water withdrawals to assist with the accuracy of the survey. Entities that purchase water from a water provider also are not considered LQUs.
Because the agency cannot identify and contact every potential new LQU, the responsibility to report at the new 300,000-gallon threshold ultimately rests with each water withdrawing entity. If your company or facility could be a potential LQU, you must register your water usage under state law. The 2015 monthly data must be reported between Jan. 1, 2016, and Mar. 31, 2016. This is an annual requirement.
Facilities participating in the LQU survey and registration shall provide the most accurate information available on monthly water withdrawals and future potential maximum withdrawals. Actual withdrawal amounts shall be established through metering, measuring or alternative accepted scientific methods to obtain a reasonable estimate or indirect calculation of actual use. Although metering of the withdrawal is not specifically required, it is the preferred method for determination of monthly withdrawals.
We are working on some changes; one of these is a new reporting format for 2015 data.
If you are a Large Quantity User and have not registered, please contact the DEP’s Dale Biller by emailing Robert.D.Biller@wv.org or DEP.firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 304-926-0499, ext. 1479.
For more DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, be sure to connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about the Adopt-A-Highway, West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia Watershed Improvement Branch, Youth Environmental Program and Human Resources initiatives, connect on Facebook.