CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $3.3 million to West Virginia communities Thursday to clean up or assess contaminated properties across the state, officials announced.
The eight projects were selected through the agency’s Brownfields program, which allocates funds for communities to restore properties, often industrial sites, where development has been complicated by the presence or potential presence of pollutants, the agency said in a statement.
The largest grant went to Weirton and Wellsburg in the northernmost corner of the state, along with neighboring Steubenville and Mingo Junction, Ohio, which all received a total of $600,000 to collectively assess a number of properties, including an old steel site and a town square, according to the agency.
Morgantown received $500,00 to cleanup a 700-acre (283-hectare) site that housed a chemical plant in the 1940s and was found to be contaminated with mercury, and the city of Huntington received a grant totaling more than $462,500 to cleanup a vacant building constructed in 1926 determined to be contaminated, the EPA’s statement said.
Additional grants went to the cleanup of a former industrial refrigeration site known to be polluted with heavy metals in Hinton, and the assessment of a former steel business and sites throughout the capital city of Charleston, among other projects statewide.
U.S. Representatives Alex Mooney and Carol Miller, both Republicans, said the funding would help revitalization efforts that could eventually lead to job and economy growth, according to the statement.