"Secondary containment is your last line of defense," said Stanley, marketing director of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. "It's your insurance that the chemical in that tank is not going to get into the environment -- the soil, the groundwater, the surface water."
Stanley said the state should start regular inspections of chemical storage facilities.
"I'm sure there are more instances across the state caused by corrosion that we don't know about," he said. "More inspections and mitigation of corrosion is what West Virginia needs. It's what the industry needs."
Sen. John Unger, who co-chairs the water oversight committee, said the panel plans to recommend legislation and policies designed to prevent chemical storage leaks. Earlier this week, Unger introduced a bill to regulate above-ground storage tanks. Companies would have to obtain state permits to operate such tanks and would face inspections.
"The purpose of this [investigation] is to thoroughly examine the situation and look at reasonable approaches to address this so we can ensure the citizens and businesses that that their water resources are protected," said Unger, D-Berkeley.
Asked how long the committee would investigate the Elk River chemical leak, he said, "It could go the whole session -- until we get answers."
Added Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor: "As long as it takes." Manypenny is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit over the contaminated water.
Republican Sen. Chris Walters, the only legislator from Kanawha County who sits on the oversight committee, did not attend Friday's meeting.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.