WVWRI Welcomes New Environmental Scientist

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Blog, News

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) is pleased to announce that Chance Chapman has joined its team as its new Environmental Scientist. The WVWRI is a program of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University. Chapman, a West Virginia native, earned his undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management from Glenville State University.

“I look forward to being able to put my skillset to work in a way which positively impacts the environment and aids in working towards the goal of leaving the environment better than when one of our projects began,” said Chapman.

Most recently, Chapman earned his Juris Doctor from the West Virginia University College of Law with a concentration in Energy and Sustainable Development Law, something which he feels will benefit him greatly in his new position.

“My combination of education in both the scientific and legal aspects of environmental protection and restoration has provided me with a unique understanding of both the scientific and legal issues associated with water quality management,” he continued.

In his new role, Chapman will perform water chemistry-related field and laboratory research activities and will help implement land reclamation projects by collaborating with state and federal agencies, watershed organizations, university researchers and external contractors.

“I have always had an interest in the outdoors and the environment,” said Chapman. “Growing up in West Virginia I have seen firsthand the positives and negatives that go along with mineral extraction. In my new role at WRI, I am excited to be involved in research that could potentially have positive impacts on both industry and communities.”

Chapman is excited to get to work doing something that is important to him and that he enjoys. His professional interests include energy, sustainable development and natural resource management.

“We are very lucky to have Chance join our team,” said Melissa O’Neal, program manager for the WVWRI. “His education and experience will be of great value to our staff and will provide us with more opportunity for collaboration with state and private entities.”

Andrew Stacy, Public Relations Coordinator, West Virginia Water Research Institute

NBAC Welcomes New Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist

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Withrow_AnnaMORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Anna Withrow has joined the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center (NBAC) as its new brownfields redevelopment specialist. The NBAC is a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute located at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University. Withrow, earned her master’s degree in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design at West Virginia University in 2015. In addition, she has a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Marshall University.

“I am happy that my work at the Center [NBAC] will involve working with a variety of communities to improve and protect the wildlife and resources of this state that I love,” said Withrow.
In her new role with NBAC, she will work with local project stakeholders to perform site analyses, facilitate visioning meetings, create conceptual plans and perform various other tasks to move redevelopment projects forward.

“My education in Landscape Architecture allows me to observe, analyze, and design spaces with reference to spatial data, development trends, sustainability standards, and site programming,” she continued. “My experience working on the adaptive reuse of brownfields properties allowed me to work closely with communities to explore and identify practical reuse plans.”

Prior to pursuing her master’s degree, Withrow taught mathematics in Southern West Virginia and worked as an adventure guide on the New River Gorge.

“Having lived in Putnam, Cabell, Fayette and Monongalia Counties, I have a deep appreciation for West Virginia’s wild lands and Appalachian culture,” said Withrow. “The NBAC is building community capacity and boosting local economies through encouraging redevelopments on previously developed lands. This is helping to keep the state’s greenfields green, among other benefits. As a lifelong resident and explorer of the state, I value the Center’s mission and am happy to join the effort.”

Withrow brings a wealth of experience to the NBAC. She has experience with hand rendering, site mapping, place analysis, parcel research, mixed-media design, construction drawings, document layouts and printing and narrative photography. Her professional interests include riparian restoration, stormwater management, whole-systems thinking, urban agriculture, and historic preservation.

“We’re fortunate to have Ms. Withrow as an addition to our staff,” said Patrick Kirby, director of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center. “Her education and past experience are a great fit to our team. With the addition of Ms. Withrow, we look forward to the opportunity to engage more local communities and assist in their redevelopment needs.”

Andrew Stacy, Public Relations Coordinator, West Virginia Water Research Institute
(304) 293-7085

Early Bird Registration For West Virginia Brownfields Conference Ends August 14

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The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers will host its 10th annual West Virginia Brownfields Conference on September 15 and 16 at the Erickson Alumni Center at West Virginia University. Early Bird registration for the Conference ends on August 14.

“We’re particularly excited this year to reflect on ten years of brownfields redevelopment in West Virginia with a lunch keynote address by West Virginia DEP Secretary Randy Huffman,” said Patrick Kirby, director of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University.

“We’re very thankful that several regional EPA representatives will be in attendance again with a keynote by Shawn Garvin the EPA Region III administrator. We’re also excited to host the first-ever conference Redevelopment Expert Exchange, which gives individual community members the opportunity to learn from redevelopment leaders around the state in an experience-sharing exchange. For those needing LRS and LED credits, we’ll have those too.”

This premier redevelopment event attracts 200 stakeholders including regional EPA officials, economic development professionals, real estate developers, lawyers, state and local officials, environmental professionals, entrepreneurs, planners, bankers, investors, and community redevelopment professionals. The Redevelopment Expert Exchange on Wednesday, September 16 will be by appointment only.

The Exchange matches redevelopment leaders from across the state with communities facing similar opportunities and challenges, allowing communities to learn from the best practices and experiences of their peers across the state.

For more information, to register, and to consider becoming a sponsor or exhibitor for the 2015 West Virginia Brownfields Conference, visit http://wvbrownfields.org/2015-wv-brownfields-conference/.

To sign-up for an Exchange appointment or volunteer as an expert, contact Carrie Staton at carrie.staton@mail.wvu.edu

For more information on the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers visit www.wvbrownfields.org.

Recent Water Quality Testing of Tenmile Creek Shows Radium Levels Well Below Federal Drinking Water Standards

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Clyde Mine Discharge Tenmile Creek

Treated effluent from Clyde Mine discharging into Tenmile Creek, Greene County, Pennsylvania. Recent water quality testing of Tenmile Creek showed radium levels well below federal drinking water standards.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Tenmile Creek is an important tributary to the Monongahela River, running 40 miles through forested hills and farms in Greene County, Pennsylvania. In 2015, Ken Dufalla, president of the Izaak Walton League of America’s (IWLA) local chapter obtained 2014 water quality data for Tenmile Creek from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). After reviewing the data, Dufalla contacted Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of West Virginia University’s Water Research Institute (WVWRI) in nearby Morgantown and the two concluded that the data indicated unusually high levels of radium. In response, the two decided to sample the same sites that the PADEP sampled to verify the results.

So, in June 2015, Dufalla guided WVWRI personnel to three coal mine discharges into Tenmile Creek. The samples were analyzed by Pace Analytical Services, a state-certified lab in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The results showed that radium was no higher than 0.75 pCi/L, well below the drinking water standard of 5 pCi/L set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In contrast, the 2014 PADEP radium readings were as high as 300 pCi/L.

“Pace Analytical used the USEPA recommended methods for determining radium in drinking water, so our results should be highly reliable,” said Ziemkiewicz.

Ziemkiewicz indicated that the PADEP is in the middle of re-sampling Tenmile Creek and he looks forward to comparing results.

Funded by the Colcom Foundation, the WVWRI’s Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) REACH program provided the means for WVWRI to initiate this targeted study for radiologicals on Tenmile Creek, in response to residents’ concerns.

The 3RQ program brings together academic researchers with grassroots organizations by collecting field water quality data and information from local water monitoring groups that are in-tune with the health of their local watersheds.

“Several watershed organizations have been monitoring along Tenmile Creek. When their field instruments suggest something unusual we can respond with more detailed chemical analysis. Testing for radiologicals is expensive and beyond the means of most citizens” said Melissa O’Neal, 3RQ project manager.

“Results from this targeted study provide reliable data to local residents who are concerned about the quality of their streams.”

The 3RQ program has been monitoring the mouth of Tenmile Creek since 2009 for a suite of chemical parameters. Results from WVWRI and its partner, grassroots water monitoring organizations is shared with the public on the program’s website, 3RiversQUEST.org.