Unger has introduced SB 373 to require inspection and monitoring of above-ground chemical storage tanks similar to what is already required for tanks below ground. The idea is to prevent what happened on the Elk River from happening anywhere else.
But that is just a partial solution.
Several years ago, Unger sponsored the state's Water Resources Protection and Management Act. That act has three parts -- to claim the state's water, to inventory it, and to develop a plan to manage and protect it. The state is now in the process of carrying out the third part.
His committee is scheduling hearings to learn about preventing future contamination.
And the issue of protecting the state's drinking water has gained a lot of support. Not just among the 300,000 people who are still sniffing their tap water either, he said.
In his own district, on the other side of the continental divide, residents have been calling their local health officials to ask about water safety. Everyone's confidence is low, no matter where they live.
"Because they know if it can happen here, it can happen there," he said.
This is an opportunity.
"It depends on what we do from now on," Unger said.Miller, the Gazette's editorial page editor, can be reached at d...@wvgazette.com.