(a) The division of environmental protection is hereby designated to be the lead agency for groundwater and is authorized and shall perform the following additional powers and duties:
(1) To maintain the state groundwater management strategy;
(2) To develop, as soon as practical, a central groundwater data management system for the purpose of providing information needed to manage the state's groundwater program;
(3) To provide a biennial report to the Legislature on the status of the state's groundwater and groundwater management program, including detailed reports from each groundwater regulatory agency;
(4) To coordinate with other agencies to develop a uniform groundwater program;
(5) To perform any and all acts necessary to obtain the benefits to the state of any federal program related to groundwater;
(6) To receive grants, gifts or contributions for purposes of implementing this article from federal agencies, state agencies or any other persons interested in the management of groundwater resources; and
(7) To promulgate legislative rules implementing this subsection in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, including rules relating to monitoring and analysis of groundwater.
(b) The division of environmental protection, bureau of public health, and department of agriculture shall participate in the data management system developed by the division of environmental protection pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and shall provide the director with such information as the director shall reasonably request in support of his or her promulgation of rules pursuant to this article.
(c) The division of environmental protection, bureau of public health, and department of agriculture are hereby authorized:
(1) To engage the voluntary cooperation of all persons in the maintenance and protection of groundwater, and to advise, consult and cooperate with all persons, all agencies of this state, universities and colleges, the federal government or other states, and with interstate agencies in the furtherance of the purposes of this article, and to this end and for the purposes of studies, scientific or other investigations, research, experiments and demonstrations pertaining thereto, receive and spend funds as appropriated by the Legislature, and from such agencies and other officers and persons on behalf of the state;
(2) To encourage the formulation and execution of plans to maintain and protect groundwater by cooperative groups or associations of municipal corporations, industries, industrial users and other users of groundwaters of the state, who, jointly or severally, are or may be impacting on the maintenance and protection of groundwater;
(3) To encourage, participate in, or conduct or cause to be conducted studies, scientific or other investigations, research, experiments and demonstrations relating to the maintenance and protection of groundwater, and to collect data with respect thereto, all as may be deemed advisable and necessary to carry out the purposes of this article, and to make reports and recommendations with respect thereto;
(4) To conduct groundwater sampling, data collection, analyses and evaluation with sufficient frequency so as to ascertain the characteristics and quality of groundwater, and the sufficiency of the groundwater protection programs established pursuant to this article;
(5) To develop a public education and promotion program to aid and assist in publicizing the need of and securing support for the maintenance and protection of groundwater.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session