by Trish Rudder
The North Berkeley Rail Trail Task Force was selected to receive the 2018 West Virginia Brownfield Award for its dedication for community engagement and support of brownfields redevelopment in West Virginia.
A brownfield is a former industrial or commercial site where future use is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination. Remediation is the process of improving or correcting the situation.
The trail head for the future trail begins behind the Berkeley Springs Train Depot on Williams Street. It is a former CSX site that was used as a railroad yard and was contaminated with Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons and arsenic.
The trail is expected to follow the Warm Springs Run from the train depot, along the old railroad bed, and end at Sandmine Road.
The North Berkeley Rail Trail is a joint effort by the Town of Bath and the Morgan County Commission.
Last January the Town of Bath, which owns the property, became a participant in a voluntary remediation program through the Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to clean up the contaminated land.
In June 2017 a $100,000 grant was awarded to the town for the North Berkeley Rail Trail from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up the parcel of land behind the train depot complex, which is to be used as a trail head for the trail.
Funding for the North Berkeley Rail Trail development has been in place for several years, but trail construction cannot begin until the two trail head lots are ready for recreational use.
Previous soil testing and cleanup activities were done in 2006 and 2010.
Committee member Bill Clark, executive director of the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council (Region 9)
said it was an honor to be recognized, and that the task force has done a lot of hard work.
The awards ceremony will be held on September 7 in Charleston.
Soil sampling has been done and accepted by the WVDEP, committee member Larry Lower said on Monday.
The committee is in the process of preparing a risk analysis and preparing a remediation plan by capping and covering the soil from the trail head on Williams Street to Parcel Three, about one-quarter mile from the depot.
Capping involves placing a fabric barrier over the soil and it will be covered either with asphalt or gravel, Lower said.
He said things are coming together regarding the depot lot and the depot building and public input is needed.
A meeting with the public is planned for late September to discuss the rail trail project, the train depot, and the Streetscapes project Phase Four A that is set to begin in the spring.