Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
Success in Brownfields Assessment and Revolving Loan Fund Programs
Success in Brownfields Assessment and Revolving
Loan Fund Programs
New Milford, CT
(May 15, 2003)
In October 2002, the town of New Milford signed a $700,000 loan agreement to fund the cleanup of the Century Enterprise Center (CEC) in New Milford, CT. This loan was issued from the EPA-capitalized Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund. This milestone puts this project one step closer towards redevelopment. Once the cleanup is completed, the town plans to market this 72-acre property to a private developer or end user.
The town of New Milford is a fast-growing community just beyond the suburbs of the New York metropolitan area in western Connecticut with a 2000 census population of 27,121. In 1999 the Town obtained the 320,000-square foot former Century Brass fabrication mill by tax foreclosure. Located on a 72-acre rural property the town intends to remediate the property and to reuse it for revenue-generating industrial or commercial uses. The mill was built in 1957 and has been closed since 1986.
In 2000, New Milford was awarded $200,000 through the EPA’s Brownfields Assessment Pilot program. This grant was supplemented with an additional $150,000 in 2002. New Milford has utilized these funds to undertake an ESA Phase III assessment which is scheduled for completion during the summer of 2003.
In September 2001, New Milford was also awarded $1 million under the EPA's Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF) program. Using this funding, the Town has created a loan program to help finance the cleanup. The Town has loaned this money to the New Milford Economic Development Commission (EDC). The EDC is a nine member volunteer group charged with facilitating industrial and commercial development in New Milford. The EDC is responsible for daily oversight of the Century Enterprise Center project and will utilize this loan to fund most of the cleanup. The project should be completed by the end of 2003.
The town has also been successful at leveraging funds from other sources to assist with the redevelopment of this property. The town was awarded $500,000 under Connecticut's Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP). These funds will be used for additional cleanup and to improve access to the property. The long-term goal of these improvements will be to provide truck access to the Century Enterprise Center from Route 7 via the Boardman Bridge.
Regulatory Involvement and Structure of the Brownfields Loan Program
The Century Enterprise Center is unusual in that the assessment and cleanup is regulated by many different federal and state programs. In addition to the federal Brownfields program, which is providing funding for many aspects of the assessment and cleanup, the property is being remediated in accordance with the federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action program and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) PCB Program. There are also many state programs regulating the cleanup including Connecticut's Property Transfer Program and Connecticuts RCRA Closure Program.
The Brownfields Program is taking the regulatory lead on the property. Under that program, the EDC serves as the Lead Agency for the cleanup as well as the Fund Manager for the loan program. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also playing a significant role in overseeing the cleanup by providing technical support to EPA as well as with acting as the property manager for the Town to insure that all federal requirements have been met. The Town has also retained the services of a licensed environmental professional (LEP), Tighe & Bond, to certify that the property has been completed in accordance with all state standards.
Under the loan program, the EDC is also the borrower for the project and anticipates repaying the loan within 15 years with a zero percent interest rate. Once repaid, the loan funds will be available for cleanup of other properties within the Town.
The cleanup plan for the Century Enterprise Center (CEC) has not yet been finalized. The property is contaminated primarily with polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) in the concrete slab floor and on other surfaces which will likely be removed and/or encapsulated. The building also contains friable asbestos in the roof and on pipe surfaces which must be removed prior to use. The property also contains a former waste water disposal system which must be removed, as well as three underground storage tanks containing petroleum. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has already completed the cleanup of extensive heavy metal contamination within the former wastewater lagoons, using money from a $2.9 million Letter of Credit provided by the property's former owners.
Proposed Property Reuse Plan
The CEC represents a big opportunity for the town of New Milford to increase its industrial tax base and provide jobs to its citizens. The town is actively marketing the property, with the assistance of the State, which has included the CEC in its Featured Properties Marketing Program. Possible future uses are as a distribution center, a large retail complex or as a property for a "clean" industry. The projected tax benefits to the town could be in excess of $300,000 per year. The CEC is attractively located less than one mile from U.S. Route 7 and served by sidings from the Housatonic Railroad. Ample supplies of electricity, natural gas and process water from the Housatonic River are available.
Schedule and Opportunities for Future Involvement
Figure 1 contains a schedule for the major milestones in the project. Public input has been and will continue to be sought through the EDC, the Town Council, and through public hearings. Fact sheets will be issued later this year summarizing the results of the property assessment and the proposed cleanup plan. In addition, the town will host a public meeting to present its plans and answer questions the public may have. Periodic updates are also provided at monthly EDC Meetings which are open to the public. Nearby residents will receive mailings about the project’s progress. Project specific information can also be obtained from the Town Library.
For more information, view State of Connecticut DECD web page.