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About

Water Resource Issues and Problems of West Virginia

Significant water resource issues in West Virginia include impacts from energy (coal, oil, and gas) extraction (mine water discharges, hydraulic fracturing), industrial sources (electric power generation, manufacturing, chemical storage tank leakages), inadequate wastewater infrastructure, storm water discharges and floods.

Background

The West Virginia Water Research Institute develops water research priorities with oversight and guidance from the West Virginia Advisory Committee for Water Research. The Advisory Committee is represented by members of Federal and State agencies, academia, and industry. Our programs and projects are comprised of strong, multi-disciplinary research teams through collaboration with West Virginia University colleges and divisions, higher education institutions across the country, private consultants, and industry professionals. By utilizing a collaborative team approach, WVWRI brings together the best expertise available to focus on exploring and implementing technologies to improve and protect the quality of the State's water resources and expand the understanding of threats and opportunities related to West Virginia's water resources. This team approach offers the best expertise available to address West Virginia's water issues and allows the WVWRI to perform research in a number of areas at any given time.

Objective

To obtain sufficient funding and coordinate appropriate research teams to implement solutions to specific water resource issues within the State of West Virginia.

Mission

To bring together the best available expertise to explore and implement solutions that improve and protect the quality of West Virginia's water resources and expand the understanding of threats and opportunities through education and outreach related to West Virginia's water resources.

Vision

To bring together a diverse cross section of stakeholders, funders, collaborating faculty, researchers, staff and students to participate in water-related research in the State to work for real, measurable improvements to West Virginia's water resources.

Water Research Institute Organizational Chart


WRI org chart

Programs and Projects

Between 2011 and 2015, the WVWRI had a number of programs and projects with a total value of $12.5M, averaging $2.5M each year, and included the following:

  • Water Resources Research Program (USGS 104 research, education and outreach) 
  • Three Rivers Quest (water quality monitoring of the Monongahela, Ohio, and Allegheny River 
  • Basins) 
  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Industry Working Group 
  • National Mine Land Reclamation Center (acid mine drainage remediation, selenium leaching and institutional control)
  • Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (environmental impacts and improved processes of coal extraction)
  • Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (air and water quality monitoring of horizontal gas wells)
  • Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center (economic development in former mining communities)

West Virginia Water Research Institute has been able to support many students along their collegiate journey. Specifically, between 2011 and 2015 WVWRI has supported 8 undergraduates, 27 masters, and 1 post-doc student through base-level grants. Through internships, WVWRI has supported one undergraduate student and supplemental grants have supported 1 undergraduate and 5 master’s students.


The ten largest water resources grants, contracts and cooperative agreements the WVWRI helped guide during FY 2011 through FY 2015

Title/Topic

Source of Funding

Year Initiated

Amount

GEO-27: MISTTI: Research and Development for the Mine of the Future

US Department of Labor Mining Health and Safety Administration MSHA

FY 2012

$349,791

WV-306: ARIES: Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science

Coal Industry

FY 2012

$1,417,349

ETD-10: Assessing Environmental Impacts of Horizontal Gas Well Drilling Operations

WV Department of Environmental Protection

FY 2012

$578,701

WRI-133: TDS Working Group

Coal Industry

FY 2011

$323,908

GEO-28: Risk Guidelines for Mineral and Energy Extraction Near Impounding Structures and Surface Bodies of Water

US Army Corps of Engineers

FY 2013

$285,000

ETD-12: Environmental Friendly Drilling East Center Phase II

US Department of Energy Houston Advanced Research Center

FY 2013

$299,888

BF-34: Brownfields Site Ready Program

Claude W. Benedum Foundation

FY 2013

$378,000

WV-327: West Run Passive Treatment Installation Airport Portals Phase II

WV Department of Environmental Protection

FY 2013

$409,899

3RQ: Three Rivers Quest (3RQ) REACH

Colcom Foundation

FY 2012

$1,232,990

WV-342: Martin Creek Dosing: A Watershed Scale Approach to AMD Remediation

WV Department of Environmental Protection

FY 2014

$1,138,000