What is a Brownfield?
According to the US EPA, "a brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment."
The Brownfields Section within the Office of Environmental Remediation oversees the following voluntary environmental assessment and remediation programs:
Brownfields Assistance Program
The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Program empowers communities, developers, and stakeholders to assess, cleanup, and sustainably reuse brownfields. WVDEP can provide free guidance and technical assistance throughout the brownfield redevelopment process.
Licensed Remediation Specialist Program
Remediation of sites in the Voluntary Remediation Program and UECA-LUST Program must be supervised by a Licensed Remediation Specialist (LRS). An LRS is an individual certified by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection as qualified to supervise the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites. Licensed Remediation Specialists must meet minimum education and experience requirements, pass an examination administered by WVDEP, and obtain continuing education.
The Licensed Remediation Specialist is employed by the Voluntary Remediation Program or UECA-LUST applicant at usual and customary professional rates. However, the LRS must be completely objective in developing and reviewing work plans, reports, and opinions. The LRS represents the interests of the public, in addition to providing technical supervision of all remedial activities. It is the Licensed Remediation Specialist’s duty to protect the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of his or her professional duties.
The Uniform Environmental Covenants Act-Leaking Underground Storage Tank (UECA-LUST) Program is an alternative remediation option for releases from underground storage tanks (USTs).
Voluntary Remediation Program
The West Virginia Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) was established in 1996 through the Voluntary Remediation and Redevelopment Act (W. Va. Code § 22-22), to encourage voluntary cleanup and redevelopment of abandoned or under-utilized contaminated properties by providing certain environmental liability protections under West Virginia law.
The Voluntary Remediation and Redevelopment Rule (W. Va. Legislative Rule 60CSR3) describes the administrative process for this program. The VRP is a structured and predictable—yet flexible—mechanism to achieve compliance with applicable state and federal environmental requirements.
The Office of Environmental Remediation administers the VRP. Licensed Remediation Specialists (LRS), licensed by WVDEP and hired by program applicants, supervise all remediation activities and prepare required reports for OER’s approval.