The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a total of $1 million to four communities in northern West Virginia to assess, clean up and revitalize former industrial and commercial sites.

The Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center (NBAC) at West Virginia University has been helping these communities identify projects and to find funding sources to address the problems associated with these sites. These grants will help turn problem properties, known asbrownfields,into productive community assets.

These communities have worked very hard on their redevelopment vision.This funding will help move their communities to the next stage of revitalization.Were excited to continue assisting these communities as they work to realize their vision,Patrick Kirby, director of NBAC , said.

Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have been awarded to the City of Moundsville ($200,000) to clean up the Fostoria Glass Plant site where buildings and soil are contaminated; and to the Preston County Economic Development Authority ($200,000) to help assess properties impacted by acid mine drainage and erosion from timber operations.The EPA is providing general funds from its brownfields program to the Brooke-Hancock Regional Planning and Development Council ($400,000) to assess brownfields properties in the former nationally recognized steel manufacturing area; and to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP; $200,000) to assess hazardous materials brownfield sites with a focus on rural areas such as Ritchie County.

These communities are initiating a process of effective management of potentially environmentally compromised properties and embracing smart growth initiatives that will improve the quality of life for their residents,said Ken Ellison, director of the WVDEP Division of Land Restoration.I am very excited about this expanded opportunity to inventory, assess, plan, remediate and redevelop brownfield sites. This effort can provide much needed suitable land for development in West Virginia while increasing conservation of open spaces and greenfields.

The Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center is a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute , a division of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WVU .For more information on these projects and the services provided by the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, contact Patrick Kirby, at 304-293-2867�5459.