Site Reuse with Land Use Covenants
Because a Land Use Covenant helps reduce or eliminate the risk of people coming in contact with contamination at a site, a LUC can allow a previously undeveloped or abandoned property to be returned to safe and productive use. However, it is important to recognize that LUCs can affect future development on a site. If a person remediating a site knows the intended future use, that should be taken into consideration prior to implementing a remedy. This will ensure that AULs listed in the LUC do not interfere with the planned use.
Long-Term Monitoring and Enforcement
In addition to reporting requirements imposed on property owners and/or covenant holders, WVDEP continuously monitors and regularly inspects properties with recorded Land Use Covenants to protect citizens from coming in contact with contamination at a site. When a property owner, contractor, or other stakeholder needs assistance with understanding a LUC and its AULs, WVDEP is available to provide guidance.
If violation of a LUC occurs, the agency, affected persons, and municipality or other unit of local government may file a civil action for injunctive or other equitable relief.
WVDEP Remediation Programs Utilizing Land Use Covenants
Land Use Covenants are routinely placed on properties that complete remediation through the RCRA Corrective Action Program, UECA-LUST Program, and Voluntary Remediation Program. All LUCs are executed pursuant to the Uniform Environmental Covenants Act (W. Va. Code § 22-22B).
Amendment or Termination
Land Use Covenants remain on the property deed in perpetuity. If it is determined that residual contamination no longer presents an unacceptable risk to human health and/or the environment (typically through additional remediation and sampling at the site), it is possible for the LUC to be amended or terminated. This requires consent by the agency, current property owner(s), and all original signers of the LUC (provided that those persons are still in existence).