(b) These standards shall establish the maximum contaminant levels permitted for groundwater, but in no event shall the standards allow contaminant levels in groundwater to exceed the maximum contaminant levels adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The Secretary may set standards more restrictive than the maximum contaminant levels where it finds that such standards are necessary to protect drinking water use where scientifically supportable evidence reflects factors unique to West Virginia or some area thereof, or to protect other beneficial uses of the groundwater. For contaminants not regulated by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, standards for such contaminants shall be established by the Secretary to be no less stringent than may be reasonable and prudent to protect drinking water or any other beneficial use. Where the concentration of a certain constituent exceeds such standards due to natural conditions, the natural concentration is the standard for that constituent. Where the concentration of a certain constituent exceeds such standard due to human-induced contamination, no further contamination by that constituent is allowed and every reasonable effort shall be made to identify, remove or mitigate the source of such contamination and to strive where practical to reduce the level of contamination over time to support drinking water use.
(c) The standards of purity and quality for groundwater promulgated by the Secretary shall recognize the degree to which groundwater is hydrologically connected with surface water and other groundwater and such standards shall provide protection for such surface water and other groundwater.
(d) In the promulgation of such standards the Secretary shall consult with the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau for Public Health, as appropriate.
(e) Any groundwater standard that is in effect on the effective date of this article shall remain in effect until modified by the Secretary. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this code to the contrary, the authority of the Secretary to adopt standards of purity and quality for groundwater granted by the provisions of this article is exclusive, and to the extent that any other provisions of this code grant such authority to any person, body, agency or entity other than the Secretary, those other provisions are void.
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