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EPA Grants Philadelphia $100K to Redevelop Tacony Waste Site

Release Date: 7/13/2000
Contact Information: Ruth Wuenschel, 215-814-5540

Ruth Wuenschel, 215-814-5540

PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia received a $100,000 grant today from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, one of 40 grants nationwide, to plan redevelopment of a seven-acre-long Metal Bank Superfund site along the Delaware River in Tacony.

“These grants, under the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, will help return the nation’s hazardous waste sites to productive use, said EPA Region III Administrator Bradley Campbell. Through this initiative, the agency makes sure that cleanup remedies are in harmony with the planned reuse of the sites, and communities have meaningful input into the projects.”

The grant is earmarked specifically for the Metal Banks site which was used to drain oil from transformers so that copper parts could be reclaimed. Spills of PCB-laden oil have caused soil and groundwater contamination on the property. Sediments in the Delaware River adjacent to the property are also contaminated with PCBs. Designs for cleanup are currently underway.

The city’s commerce department proposes to use the funding to conduct a reuse assessment. The main purpose of the assessment will be to solicit input from stakeholders to find the best reuse for the site. The Superfund Redevelopment Initiative holds a number of benefits for future site users, including “least restrictive” zoning which allows almost any use, relief from state and local taxes until the year 2010, and community acceptance of the new site usage.

In addition, the city will hire consultants to provide technical and financial analyses. Facilitation services will be provided by the City Planning Commission. Public outreach includes public meetings, newsletters and other initiatives to involve the local community in the reuse decision making. The grant will also be used to set up a citizens advisory group to involve the community in redevelopment plans and progress.

“This contaminated site is one of many in my district that has sat idle for years and contributed to the unsightly, decayed Delaware River waterfront which currently exists north of Penn’s Landing,” said U.S. Congressman Bob Borski. “This funding can help serve as a catalyst for change and help in my vision for restoring our waterfront into a thriving and bustling region with residential, recreational and industrial activity.

EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Initiative is specifically geared to make cleanups at these site safe for the selected future use. Under the pilot program, EPA will monitor the effects of the financial assistance on the successful re-use of the site. EPA expects that the final remedy design for the Metal Bank Superfund site will be completed in the spring of 2001 and the construction of the remedy will being in fall of 2001.