On May 8, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 240 recipients throughout the country were chosen to receive grants totaling $62.5 million. Funding will be provided by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) to assess, clean, and revitalize contaminated industrial and commercial sites. The goals are to improve public health and safety, protect the environment, promote economic development, and create jobs.
When selecting recipients, the EPA focused on economically disadvantaged and under-served areas in need of employment opportunities and environmental cleanup. $29.5 million will be awarded to areas affected by automobile manufacturing plant closures. Almost half of those selected for this round of funding were first-time recipients.
A site in New York previously used for electroplating, and the InterRoyal Mill in Connecticut are two examples of former industrial properties receiving funds for assessment. In Rhode Island, contaminated properties at the Uniroyal rubber plant site and an abandoned service station will receive funding for cleanup. Other sites selected for cleanup include a closed school, hospital, salvage yard, and manufacturing properties. Future uses for these properties include neighborhood redevelopment and commercial revitalization.
“Through these grant resources local communities can continue to assess, cleanup, and redevelop properties to meet local needs for jobs, housing, and recreation while protecting people’s health and the local environment,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
There are currently about 450,000 contaminated and abandoned properties in America. So far, the EPA’s Brownfields program has assessed more than 20,000 sites, cleaned up more than 850 properties, and provided 87,000 jobs. Studies show that Brownfield cleanup and redevelopment benefits local economies and the environment.
Protect employees working to cleanup contaminated areas by providing safety supplies like protective clothing and respiratory protection. Workers performing tasks near damaged or abandoned structures the risk of collapse, falling debris, and cave-ins. Help reduce injuries by using hard hats, work gloves, steel-toed boots, and fall protection.