Many small communities in rural West Virginia do not have the staff or technical expertise to undertake brownfields redevelopment projects on their own. The Northern and Southern Brownfields Assistance Centers were created to empower communities to plan and implement brownfields redevelopment projects.
The Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, housed at the West Virginia Water Research Institute at WVU, serves the State’s northern 33 counties, while the Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University, house within the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences, serves the Southern 22 counties.
What is a Brownfield?
The Brownfields Law defines a “Brownfield Site” as:
“…real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”
Brownfield sites include all “real property,” including residential, as well as commercial and industrial properties.
The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers
The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers were created by the West Virginia Legislature in 2005 to promote economic development and environmental and public health protection through innovative redevelopment of brownfield sites. The Centers promote and coordinate the development of brownfield property by providing training and technical assistance, facilitating site preparation efforts, community involvement as well has helping communities with grant writing and leveraging project funding.
In an effort to provide comprehensive assistance to communities throughout West Virignia, the two centers coordinate by producing state-wide conferences, collaborating on regional projects, and by sharing current brownfields information. The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University, located in Huntington, is housed within The Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences (CEGAS). The Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center is housed in the West Virginia Water Research Institute (WV WRI) at the National Research Center for Coal & Energy at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.
Patrick Kirby, Program Coordinator