US EPA recognizes redeveloped industrial sites during WV Brownfields Conference

 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin recognized redeveloped industrial sites in the Mountain State at this year's West Virginia Brownfields Conference.

EPA has invested more than $18 million in brownfields projects throughout the state since 1997. West Virginia sites have been reused as commercial sites as well as parks and playgrounds. Communities and non-profit organizations have put EPA's funding to work in 160 site assessments and 13 cleanups of brownfields properties.

In his remarks, Garvin recognized several West Virginia communities that received a combined $1.32 million in EPA brownfields grants, highlighting the many successful brownfields projects and effective redevelopment strategies underway in West Virginia.

“I can't overstate the importance of brownfields restoration, which is spurring economic development, revitalizing communities and protecting people's health and our environment here in West Virginia and across the country,” Garvin said. “This conference allows us to share successful strategies for redevelopment that can be adopted in other West Virginia communities.”

Among the communities Garvin singled out:

* Wayne County Economic Development Authority, $200,000 assessment grant.

* City of Morgantown, $200,000 assessment grant to conduct environmental assessments in the Sunnyside section.

* City of Thomas, $200,000 grant to conduct environmental assessments.

* Wyoming County Economic Development Authority, $200,000 grant to cleanup contamination on the former Lusk Lumber Property in Tralee.

* City of Charles Town, $250,000 supplemental revolving loan funds to expand the City's cleanup activities to the public works yard site.

* West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection, $200,000 grant to assess petroleum contaminated sites in Nicholas, Fayette and Raleigh counties.

* West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection, $70,000 to assess and prepare a remediation plan for a riverfront property at the former TS&T site in Chester (Hancock County).

Garvin talked about his commitment to the Northern Panhandle in 2012 when he formally presented the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle with $200,000 needed to complete the Taylor, Smith & Taylor demolition in Chester. Hancock County Commissioner Jeff Davis, a member of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, had told him the project was designed to “not only protect public health by removing contaminants like asbestos and lead from the neighborhood, (but also) help restore the property to a productive use.”

Since the BDC purchased the former TS&T site in 2011, the organization has garnered almost $1.2 million in funding to clean up the site, abandoned and deemed a public nuisance, for more than 30 years, including a $500,000 loan from the county commission; a $200,000 loan from West Virginia IJDC; $76,300 from USEPA for the Phase II assessment and another $70,000 for Phase II riverfront access; $38,475 from Benedum Foundation and $54,031 from the BDC.

BDC Executive Director Patrick Ford said they still need to perform an environmental assessment of the riverbank, which will include soil and water sampling, and quantify the cost to remove any contaminants and prepare a master plan of the site, which will allow the BDC to better market the property to interested prospects.