Brownfield May Have New Use

Covenant outlines site’s restrictions

Morgantown Dominion Post
8 April 2012
By Tracy Eddy

A land-use covenant approved by Monongalia County commissioners may allow Star City to find a new use for property it hopes to obtain from the county. Star City officials still want the former Quality Glass property, though there are no definite plans for its use.

Digging and drilling wouldn’t be permitted at the 3-acre site on Van Voorhis Road — currently owned by the Monongalia County Commission — because the land was recently remediated as part of a state program that cleans brownfields.

Mayor Allen Sharp said the restrictions weren’t a surprise. “We knew all this going in.”

Earlier this week, the County Commission approved a land-use covenant between the commission and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The land-use covenant explains the restrictions put on the property to protect the cleanup and remediation work that was done. The Dominion Post obtained a copy.

The commission sent a copy of the document to Star City, but Sharp said he hadn’t seen the agreement.

Excavation, drilling or other penetration of the land is not permitted unless it is done by a contractor, who is qualified and knowledgeable about releases and exposures to contaminants at the site, according to the land-use covenant.

Also, the extraction of groundwater is also prohibited unless it’s for monitoring or remediation purposes.

The site must be inspected at least twice a year to make sure it still complies with the covenant, the document states.

Star City officials will review the document, Sharp said, and then discuss the possibility of drawing up a deed so ownership of the property could be transferred to the town.

Commissioner Asel Kennedy said the county wouldn’t charge Star City for the land.

The former Quality Glass site isn’t in Star City’s municipal limits — it’s about three or four miles away. Annexation wouldn’t be necessary, as cities and towns can own property outside their limits.

Sharp said the town could likely keep the land as a park and parking area for a while, but that’s not why officials wanted the land.

The property slopes down to the Monongahela River and a has a gravel lot with about 16 parking spaces.

The cleanup at the Quality Glass site started in 2009. Soil contaminated with metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbon (a heavier type of petroleum that can contain benzene) was removed. The remaining soil was capped with clay and covered with more soil.

Trash and other debris were also removed.

The remediation cost about $350,000. The majority of the cost was covered by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Cleanup grant, but the county contributed about $47,000.

“It’s a clean site now,” Kennedy said. “Before it was hazardous to everyone who went through there.” Brownfields are abandoned or inactive industrial or commercial sites.