May 31, 2013
01:56 PMConnecticut Today
Connecticut Receives $2.8 Million From EPA to Clean Up Brownfield Sites
The United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] recently announced that it is awarding $12 million in grants to clean up New England Brownfield sites, including $2.8 million for eight Connecticut sites. The funds, part of the the more than $62 million being awarded this year, are to be used to conduct community-wide site assessments as well as cleanups. Each grant is $200,000.
According to a press release from the EPA, these grants "provide communities with funding necessary to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment." The organization's research has shown that redeveloping these sites often have a significant positive impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
The breakdown for Connecticut is:
• Goodwin College, E. Hartford, $400,000 (2 cleanup grants)
• Greater Bridgeport Regional Council, Bridgeport, $400,000 (2 community-wide assessment grants)
• City of Hartford, $600,000 (3 cleanup grants)
• City of Meriden, $200,000 (cleanup grant)
• Town of Plainfield, $200,000 (assessment grant)
• Renaissance City Dev. Assoc., Inc., New London, $400,000 (2 cleanup grants)
• Town of Stratford, $400,000 (2 community-wide assessment grants)
• Willimantic Whitewater Partnership, Inc., $200,000 (cleanup grant)
Currently, Connecticut has hundreds of sites that are considered contaminated, partly the result of being a manufacturing hub for centuries. Cleaning up and rehabilitating these properties, as well as getting them back to productive use and on the public tax roll, remains a priority for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection [DEEP]. In addtion to the environmental issues, these unused properites also pose potential health risks.
Last month, when we looked at 12 of the key environmental issues facing Connecticut, DEEP's communications director Dennis Schain listed the clean up of these sites as a top priority. "We like to say, 'Use brown fields, not green fields,'" he told us, adding that considering how much we want to protect our open fields and forests, it makes no sense to develop those when there's so much available former industrial space just sitting around waiting to be redeveloped.
These grants should provide much-needed assistance in that regard.