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Moving Mountains: WVU engineers lead project to reclaim mine refuse site in West Virginia

(Pictured left to right) WVDEP Regional Engineer Nathan Parks, Assistant Professor Leslie Hopkinson, Director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute Paul Ziemkiewicz, and WVU graduate student Jeff Stevens at the Royal Scot mine site in Greenbrier C

(Pictured left to right) WVDEP Regional Engineer Nathan Parks, Assistant Professor Leslie Hopkinson, Director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute Paul Ziemkiewicz, and WVU graduate student Jeff Stevens at the Royal Scot mine site in Greenbrier County. (Submitted Photo)

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EPA Selects West Virginia University Research Corporation for $1 Million Training and Technical Assistance Funding

PHILADELPHIA (April 22, 2021) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing the selection of West Virginia University Research Corporation as one of six organizations to receive a total of $11 million in grants nationwide to provide training and technical assistance to communities.

The work is being funded by EPA’s Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program.  West Virginia University Corporation will receive $1 million total over a five-year period to provide technical assistance primarily to underserved and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Mid-Atlantic Region (EPA Region 3) where environmental cleanup and new jobs are needed most. This assistance is available to all stakeholders and comes at no cost to communities. It is an important part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in disadvantaged communities.

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From pollutant to resource: WVU scientists push rare earth element technologies closer to production

Water researchers at West Virginia University hope to turn a pollutant – acid mine drainage - into a technological resource through the continuation of a $2.1 million contract from the National Energy Technology Laboratory. 

The West Virginia Water Research Institute, a program of the Energy Institute at WVU, earned the funding to explore a nationwide supply chain, based on acid mine drainage treatment, that would produce at least 400 tons of rare earth elements and critical materials each year. 

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Preston County water conditions return to normal after heavy rain, mine discharge, WVU researchers conclude

Heavy rains last week pummeled the region hard enough to overwhelm an acid mine drainage treatment plant's plumbing system in Preston County, causing the discharge of untreated water into Muddy Creek, which feeds into the Cheat River. 

West Virginia University scientists joined the state Department of Environmental Protection in determining that stream conditions near the former T&T Mine in Albright returned to normal after rainfall and melting snow led to a high-flow event. The DEP reported on Friday that the discharge caused acid levels in Muddy Creek and Cheat River to spike. 

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WVWRI Wraps Up Virtual Seminar Series

The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) hosted a three-part virtual seminar series from December 2020 through February 2021 to share current research and remediation projects with interested outside organizations and the public.

The first session featured three research projects carried out by WVU researchers with funding from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) 104b program. These projects share the common focus of water quality and quantity. Presentations included:

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Save the Date for the 41st West Virginia Mine Drainage Task Force Symposium

The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) is teaming up with the West Virginia Mine Drainage Task Force to host the 41st West Virginia Mine Drainage Task Force Symposium. The symposium is an opportunity for the Task Force to present information on new developments in mine drainage research, treatment and control practices. The symposium is scheduled for September 28th – 29th, 2021 with further details to come. Please visit the Task Force website to check for updates and learn more.

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WVWRI releases RFP for FY2021 USGS 104b funding

The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) is requesting proposals for research expected to be funded March 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of the Interior, will sponsor the research. Faculty from all West Virginia colleges and universities are encouraged to submit proposals. Funding selected proposals is dependent upon the availability of funds. It is expected that 3-5 projects will be funded in the range of $10,000 – $20,000 each. It is expected that approximately $90,000 will be available for new projects in 2021.

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WVU researchers move rare earth elements technologies closer to production

The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded a contract with a base award of $149,980 for a conceptual design. The contract includes one option period for a Feasibility Case Study, which if exercised will be $1,567,889.  West Virginia Water Research Institute’s project at WVU is focused on developing a domestic supply chain that uses the Institute’s technology to capture REEs as oxide powders that can be converted into the rare earth metals used by U.S. manufacturers.

Rare earth elements are important to today’s society because they allow electronic devices to be smaller, faster, and more energy efficient.  This makes REEs critical to national security and a major concern because China mines and exports most of the world’s REE supplies. Developing a new, U.S. source of REEs from AMD has been a priority for WVWRI since 2016. Their work has been funded by the U.S. DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory.

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WVU partners with Extreme Endeavors to mine rare earth elements from acid mine drainage

Article written by Veronica Ogbe for WDTV.

From decades of mining in West Virginia, over 40 percent of the states rivers are too polluted to be safely used for drinking water or to support aquatic life, according to Appalachian Mountain Advocates. Mike Masterman, owner of Extreme Endeavors, is partnering with WVU’s Water Research Institute to provide a solution that would benefit the environment and the economy. 

Read Full Article: WVU partners with Extreme Endeavors to mine rare earth elements from acid mine drainage