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EPA funding for redevelopment in Bucks County

Release Date: 5/13/2005
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $200,000 brownfields grant to the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority to help in the cleanup of a former industrial site on the Delaware River waterfront known as Riverfront South.

“Brownfields initiatives demonstrate how environmental protection and economic development go hand-in-hand. EPA’s brownfields funds will help to get the cleanup at this site started, and begin to help reclaim this property which will be turned it into productive reuse,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

Plans for the redevelopment of the former Elf Atochem site, now known as Riverfront South, include offices, retail stores, restaurants and housing in a traditional neighborhood setting. Four acres of public green space along the Delaware River is also planned as a part of the revitalization of the Delaware River waterfront in Bucks County, which includes improving public access and creating a riverwalk.

The cleanup of this 26 acre site will require remediating soils contaminated with volatile organic compounds and caustics. The cleanup is estimated at $5 million. This site has already had extensive site assessment under EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective program. When the cleanup is complete, it will achieve RCRA’s corrective action goals and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Act II Land Recycling Program cleanup standards, a part of the one-clean up approach.

The RCRA Corrective Action Program typically oversees the cleanup of operating industrial facilities which manage hazardous waste. However, RCRA corrective action also applies to some sites which are no longer operating because of a variety of economic circumstances. At this Bensalem site, and other similar sites, brownfields funds are able to assist in reclaiming an inactive site helping to rebuild this area.

This is one of a series of grants EPA has given to Bucks County to help spur redevelopment. The nearby Riverfront North one good example of how brownfields works now, a senior living housing unit stands where an abandoned factory once stood.

Brownfields are abandoned properties where contamination has been a barrier to redevelopment. Funds are made available under the Brownfields Revitalization Act for assessment, cleanup and job training, and for state revolving loan funds and state grants programs. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what’s considered a brownfield, so communities may now include sites contaminated with petroleum, lands scarred by mining, and property subject to RCRA corrective action. Regionally, this round of grants is providing the largest brownfields funding since the 2002 law was enacted – $3.3 million in Pennsylvania alone.

Bucks County is one of 17 communities receiving brownfields grants in the mid-Atlantic region this spring. Nationally, communities in 44 states will share more than $75 million in brownfields grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from problem properties into community assets.

Brownfields encourage the redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the brownfields program, nationwide EPA has awarded 709 assessment grants totaling over $190 million,189 revolving loan fund grants totaling more than $165 million, and $26.8 million for 150 cleanup grants.

In addition to facilitating industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfields projects have converted industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas station sites to housing. EPA's brownfields assistance has led to more than $7 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 31,000 jobs, and resulted in the assessment of more than 5,100 properties. More than 60 percent of the people completing brownfields training programs have landed jobs in the environmental field.

For every dollar of federal money spent on brownfields cleanup activities, cities and states produce or leverage $2.50 in private investment. Four and a half acres of green space are preserved for every acre of brownfields redeveloped.

A summary of the grants is attached. For additional information and fact sheets on each project funded see EPA’s website at For information on the facility lead RCRA corrective action at this site