Parkersburg, DEP reach agreement on Pennzoil land

PARKERSBURG — The city has reached a voluntary remediation agreement with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to address a piece of property slated to be part of its multi-use trail.

The land in question is approximately 5.37 acres near 19th and Keever streets. It includes property on both sides of the floodwall, with the area nearest the river planned as part of the trail the city is building along the Ohio River toward Vienna.

The former Pennzoil/Elk Terminal site was acquired from Pennzoil in 2014, in a deal that included $55,000 from the company to be used toward remediation. The city later allocated another $20,000.

According to a release from the DEP, the agreement with the city and its Urban Renewal Authority is part of the state’s Voluntary Remediation and Redevelopment Act, which “encourages voluntary cleanups of contaminated sites … with an objective of counteracting the lack of development on sites with contamination or perceived contamination.”

The site was used as a bulk petroleum storage terminal from 1953 to 1955, the release says. Potential sources of contaminants identified in a prior assessment are a pair of former above-ground storage tanks and the northwest corner of the property, where pesticides and herbicides were used.

Parkersburg Development Director Rickie Yeager said further study will determine whether there actually is any contamination. If so, the city will work with the DEP to address it.

“The key word is ‘if,'” Yeager said.

The new assessment is expected to start toward the end of the month, he said.

Eventually, the city hopes to obtain a certificate of completion from the DEP, stating that there are no lingering environmental issues with the property.