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WV House Committee hears water recommendations from local health departments

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On Feb. 10, the ongoing water discussion continued to be the topic of conversation of the House Health and Human Resources committee.

Joseph Bundy, executive director of Harrison-Clarksburg Board of Health and Lloyd White, administrator of Marion County Health Department, offered lawmakers suggestions as to what a final product of the legislation regulating water resources should include.

One of the recommendations the local health boards offered would be allowing local health departments to act independently of other agencies. In addition, the ability to go on a site, inspect and contact the necessary authorities, if the need arose, was also recommended.

"Right now, we don't have the authority to go on the site … we'd be trespassing," Bundy said.

Immediately notifying local health departments was another recommendation, as well as being allowed to conduct an immediate investigation. When it comes to being able to issue penalties, the question arose as to if any conflict could exist with two different entities issuing said penalties.

Another question arose about whether two bills are needed or necessary.

After going back and forth in previous discussions, Bundy said having specific duties outlined in two different sections should suffice.

Additional recommendations included allowing health departments to be involved and to offer input on all water source protection plans from start to finish.

"Bottom line is local health departments need to be in the loop from the start," Bundy said.

The officials also asked for adequate funding.