Voluntary Remediation Program
Pullman Square in Huntington, WV, was previously used for urban commercial and industrial purposes, which resulted in soil and groundwater contamination on the site.
The property completed environmental cleanup through the VRP in 2002 and today is the site of a lifestyle center with dining, shopping, and entertainment.
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.
The Voluntary Remediation Program encourages companies, communities, and other stakeholders to voluntarily remediate sites and return them to productive use so that undeveloped land remains pristine. Parties that remediate sites through the VRP use risk-based cleanup standards that consider site-specific conditions and future land use.
The Voluntary Remediation Program identifies and addresses potential contamination at sites using a series of steps, including:
- Completing an environmental site assessment
- Performing a risk assessment
- Selecting and implementing a remedy
- Conducting long-term oversight, as necessary
Decisions on how to remedy a site in the Voluntary Remediation Program are made based on risks the site may pose to human health and the environment. Established cleanup standards are used to decide if a site represents an unacceptable risk. Remedies such as removal, treatment, and control of the contamination are used, alone or in combination, to address these risks.
The VRP is protective of communities and the environment, while promoting economic development in West Virginia.
Benefits to Applicants
In addition to future liability relief, applicants experience benefits such as:
For entities establishing, relocating, or expanding their operations, remediating and redeveloping a brownfield through the VRP provides additional benefits:
- Structured and predictable regulatory process
- Prompt guidance and oversight from WVDEP
- Time and cost savings by remediating a site to risk-based standards
- Redevelopment cost savings from use of existing infrastructure
- Enhanced property value due to elimination of risks for lenders or buyers
- Possible access to financial incentives, including grants and loans
- Access to ideal property locations previously utilized by industry:
- Concetrated urban settings
- Highway, rail, and river access
- Cost savings from use of existing infrastructure
Benefits to Communities
Cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties reinvigorates communities and stimulates local economies. Communities experience many environmental, social, and economic benefits, including:
- Eliminated or reduced exposure to contamination
- Improved public health and safety
- Conservation of greenspaces
- Decreased blight and crime
- Preservation of historic landmarks
- Increased private investment
- Created and retained jobs
- Enhanced property values and resulting tax base
- Increased revenue for public services
Public notification and participation is an integral part of the Voluntary Remediation Program. All site information is made available to the public, and notifications are published when an application is received and a cleanup method is approved. If public funds are used for remediation, a much higher degree of public involvement is required.
VRP Reference Documents for Download
List of Current Licensed Remediation Specialists
General questions about the Voluntary Remediation Program may be directed to the Office of Environmental Remediation: