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EPA, West Virginia officials highlight partnerships to improve air, water quality

10/21/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Region 3 Press Office (R3press@epa.gov)

CHARLESTON, WV (October 21, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced partnership efforts with West Virginia today that demonstrate how EPA and West Virginia are working together to improve air quality and water quality throughout the state.

EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio met in Charleston with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and Austin Caperton, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP) Secretary, to announce the attainment of a statewide national ambient air quality standards and EPA funding to support water quality projects.

“Today’s announcements show just how much can be accomplished when federal and state partners collaborate on protecting public health and the environment,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “I am grateful for opportunity to collaborate with our West Virginia state partners to ensure that all West Virginians have access to safe drinking water and clean air.”

Servidio’s first announcement was EPA’s approval of West Virginia’s request to redesignate the Marshall County, West Virginia, area to attainment for the 2010 federal sulfur dioxide national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act. The 2010 standard remains current after a 2019 EPA review.

This redesignation marks the first time since 1978 that all the national air quality standards statewide for West Virginia have been attained.  West Virginia is also now the only state in the Mid-Atlantic region where the entire state meets all the national standards for air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Attaining the NAAQS means cleaner air, improved health outcomes, and greater economic opportunities for cities and communities across the country.

Servidio’s second announcement focused on two water-related grants -- $24.7 million to West Virginia for water quality improvement projects to address wastewater treatment and stormwater runoff; and $11 million for drinking water improvement projects throughout the state.

These water improvement grants will be supplemented with nearly $4.9 million in state matching funds for wastewater projects and $2.8 million in state matching funds for drinking water projects.

This year’s funding includes $3.7 million for upgrading the drinking water system for the City of Ronceverte by supporting the replacement of two 200,000-gallon water tanks and 2.3 miles of water lines to reduce water loss.

Wastewater improvement projects include upgrades to treatment plants and collection systems, replacing failing on-site septic systems with more modern systems, and extending service to underserved communities.

The announcements further amplified the air and water quality successes within the state and EPA’s continued support for its strong federal and state partnerships in West Virginia.

“West Virginia is absolutely blessed with natural beauty, and we have some of the cleanest air and most pristine water you’ll find,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “I’m extremely proud of our partnership with the EPA and the successes that we’re seeing when it comes to making our air and water quality better and better because, at the end of the day, we want to let the outside world know that West Virginia is the diamond in the rough that they may have missed, and an excellent place to raise a family and grow a business in one of the most stunning environments in America.”

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