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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA awards $300,000 to clean up lead in Humboldt County

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Michele Huitric (

SAN FRANCISCO – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Humboldt County, Calif., will receive $300,000 to reduce lead exposure from paint and soil as part of an ongoing community revitalization effort. Humboldt County is one of 11 groups across the nation receiving a combined total of about $5.35 million in Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants.

“These supplemental funds help provide communities with resources to help clean up contamination, and turn blighted land into opportunities that can generate jobs and spur economic growth,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Humboldt County will use the funds to expand ongoing lead abatement work at low-income homes in the historic lumber mill community of Samoa. An old timber industry railyard will also be cleaned for future reuse as a railroad museum. Including this year’s award, Humboldt County has received more than $2.3 million in Brownfields Revolving Loan Funds since 2007.

“The County was pleased to hear that we have received another $300,000 to complete the work needed to abate the lead in the community of Samoa,” said Paula Mushrush, Humboldt County’s Housing and Grants Coordinator. “I believe that in addition to improving health these are projects that are saving a piece of Humboldt County history.”   

Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants provide funding for local communities to carry out cleanup activities at historically contaminated properties. The funds are provided to groups that have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites, helping recipients maintain momentum.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24 billion in public and private funding have been leveraged as a result of various EPA Brownfields grants. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar spent. Each $100,000 of EPA Brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements leverages 8.5 jobs.

Studies have shown that residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15.2% within a 1.24-mile radius of that site. A study analyzing data near 48 brownfield sites shows that an estimated $29 to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to those brownfields.

For a list of FY 2017 applicants selected for RLF Supplemental Funds:

For more information on EPA’s brownfields program:

To see project examples and success stories: