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North Carolina Receives EPA Brownfields Grants

Release Date: 06/15/2004
Contact Information: Laura Niles, (404) 562-8353,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has awarded Brownfields grants to three communities in North Carolina to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use. The three North Carolina sites will receive a combined amount of approximately $2 million in Brownfields grants for cleanup or assessment of the sites.

Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In January 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for Brownfields grants. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what's considered a Brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.

The three sites receiving grants in North Carolina include:

Land-of-Sky Regional Council, Western North Carolina Brownfields Assessment Grant $1,400,000

The Land-of-Sky Regional Council's goal for its hazardous substances funds will be to identify, characterize, and prioritize sites; perform Phase I and II site assessments; develop cleanup plans; conduct community involvement activities; and assist local officials with health monitoring. The petroleum funds received from the grant will be used to perform the same tasks at sites with petroleum contamination. The council anticipates assessing up to six sites.

Cleanup and redevelopment of the brownfields sites will help the region preserve its natural resources, restore its historic and cultural sites, and attract business and industry to the area, resulting in an increase in tourism revenues, jobs, and tax revenues.

Laurinburg, North Carolina Brownfields Cleanup Grant $200,000

The city of Laurinburg's Brownfields grant will be used to clean up petroleum and hazardous substances contamination on the 5.3-acre former Scotland Memorial Hospital site. A site investigation carried out under a brownfields assessment grant revealed three areas of concern: a former underground storage tank area with two 15,000-gallon tanks that were used for fuel oil and one of unknown size that held diesel, combustion-related contaminants around the former incinerator, and asbestos within the hospital building itself.

The city plans to eliminate environmental concerns about the property so that it can be redeveloped in cooperation with the Richmond Community College into a regional vocational training facility with a public park and greenspace.

Raleigh, North Carolina Brownfields Assessment Grant $400,000

The city of Raleigh will use its hazardous substances grant funds to identify and rank brownfields in the targeted downtown area with a concentration of brownfields, and adjacent residential areas. Funds also will be used to develop a cleanup and redevelopment strategy, create a Brownfields Community Network, and implement a community environmental education program. Their petroleum grant funds will be used to perform the same tasks for sites contaminated with petroleum.

The city plans to target the top 100 sites that could provide strategic locations for business and service redevelopment projects during the next 10 years. Cleanup of these brownfields is expected to create jobs, increase the community's tax base, and make available clean, blight-free properties to provide greenspace and support economic development.

In all, 219 applicants, including five tribal nations, were selected to receive 265 grants. The $75.4 million will provide:

    • 155 assessment grants totaling $37.6 million to be used to conduct planning for eventual cleanup at one or more Brownfield sites or as part of a community-wide effort.
    • 92 cleanup grants totaling $16.9 million to provide funding for grant recipients to carry out cleanup activities at Brownfield sites they own.
    • 18 revolving loan fund grants totaling $20.9 million to provide funding for communities to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at Brownfields sites. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low or zero interest loans for Brownfields cleanups.
In March, 16 communities received job training grants totaling $2.47 million to teach environmental-cleanup job skills to 1,080 individuals living in low-income areas near Brownfields sites. To date, more than 60 percent of people completing Brownfields training programs have obtained employment in the environmental field with an average hourly wage of $12.84.

The Brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 554 assessment grants totaling over $150 million,171 revolving loan fund grants totaling over $145 million, and 66 cleanup grants totaling $11.4 million.

In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, Brownfields approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, and rail corridors to recreational trails. EPA's Brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $5.8 billion in private investment, helped create more than 27,000 jobs and resulted in the assessment of more than 4,500 properties.

For more information on the grant recipients, go to: