CHARLESTON, W.Va. (August 11, 2020) – In an effort to assist local governments, nonprofits, and private sector businesses clean up properties contaminated by petroleum or hazardous substances – known as brownfields – the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) announced the creation of the Brownfield Revolving Fund on Tuesday. The program is administered by the WVDEP's Office of Environmental Remediation (OER), which oversees several programs that encourage cleanup of contaminated sites across the state.
The loan fund was authorized by the West Virginia Legislature through the West Virginia Voluntary Remediation and Redevelopment Act and was capitalized by an $820,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Remediation of brownfields in West Virginia protects human health and the environment by returning abandoned and under-utilized properties to productive use and safeguards undeveloped pristine land.
Securing financing from private lenders to clean up these properties can be difficult because of potential legal liability. The fund is designed to fill this critical funding gap and provide incentives to clean up brownfield sites with favorable borrowing and repayment terms.
Interest rates for government and non-profit borrowers range from 0 to 1.5 percent, and rates for private sector businesses range from 1 to 3 percent. Repayment terms of up to 10 years can be negotiated.
Both the loan applicant and the brownfield property must meet Federal and state eligibility requirements to receive BRF monies. To document eligibility, prospective loan applicants must complete a questionnaire prior to submitting a loan application. Parties who caused or contributed to the contamination, or who are delinquent on taxes, loan payments, or other indebtedness to the State of West Virginia are not eligible for loans. Sites that are currently under federal or state enforcement actions are also not eligible for cleanup funds.
Borrowers in the BRF program are required to meet certain public notice and public participation requirements and are required to contribute 20 percent of the total loan amount toward the cleanup effort, though the match amount can be met through in-kind labor, material, or services. Unless the remediation project is limited to asbestos or lead-based paint abatement, borrowers also must enroll the site in the WV Voluntary Remediation Program to complete the cleanup work.
Funds under the loan program can be used to perform a broad range of cleanup activities that include excavating and removing contaminants, treating contaminated soil and groundwater, demolishing contaminated structures, managing storm water run-off, and installing security measures to prevent trespassing. Funds can also be used to pay environmental consultants who oversee and certify the cleanup, and fees for WVDEP review and approval of the work. Funds cannot be used to perform environmental site assessments, such as Phase I or Phase II ESAs prior to cleanup.
Interested parties should visit the OER's Brownfields Revolving Fund
webpage to download information or contact the OER through email at DEPBrownfieldsRevolvingFund@wv.gov
. Eligible borrowers will need to complete a loan application to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan and to provide the necessary collateral.
For more WVDEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter, Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/depwv/, and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.”
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