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EPA Announces $450,000 for Brownfield Site Assessments in New England; Middletown, Conn., Targeted for Assessment Work

Release Date: 10/01/2001
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office today announced that it will invest $450,000 to assess environmental conditions at abandoned, contaminated sites in three New England states, including one site in Middletown, Conn.

The grant to Connecticut will help assess contamination at a 3.7-acre parcel that belonged to the former Portland Chemical Works before it was foreclosed by the city. Officials hope to help an adjacent industrial business expand into this space.

"This site assessments is an important first step in getting a contaminated parcel cleaned up so it can be re-used again," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "Middletown should be applauded for the work it is doing to rebuild abandoned properties, create jobs and increase the local tax base."

"The funding provided by the EPA is a crucial step in the on-going revitalization efforts of communities all across the country, including Middletown," Sen. Joseph Lieberman said. "At one time, brownfield sites were home to neighborhood businesses and were vital to the economic health of their communities. Unfortunately, most of these sites are now idle eyesores. But with the support of local organizations and our government, we can change that and inject new life into our communities."

"Like a farmer clearing a field of weeds, Middletown is working hard to rid itself of old, contaminated material, and in its place – plant new economic vitality," said Sen. Christopher Dodd. "This is an important investment in their success and future."

"Connecticut is one of the oldest industrial areas in the country," Rep. Robert R. Simmons said. "For us, there is truly no alternative to reuse of sites like this. If we are to remain economically strong, we must evaluate and restore old abandoned sites and we must do it with the environmental wisdom of the 21st century. I am very grateful to the EPA for helping to do this."

"There are a number of issues here, but we are committed to our goal of cleaning the property and putting it back on the tax rolls," said William Warner, director of Planning Conservation and Development for the City of Middletown. "EPA's assistance will help turn this goal into a reality and eliminate the need to use local tax dollars."

Under the agency's Brownfields Program, environmental consultants contracted by EPA will perform the assessments – costing about $75,000 each – to determine the nature and extent of contamination on the properties, and to estimate the costs of cleaning up the site for redevelopment. The assessments are scheduled to begin in November and take about eight to 10 months.

EPA New England's Brownfields Program has invested $47.1 million in assessing Brownfield sites throughout New England. This money has helped communities restore and develop contaminated urban properties across New England, leading to the creation of thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in income and tax revenue. Today's assessments bring to $21.2 million the amount EPA has invested to date in Brownfields in Massachusetts since the inception of the Brownfields program in 1995

Similar site assessment awards have been central to redeveloping abandoned sites throughout New England. In Somerville, a site assessment helped achieve the $14 million redevelopment of an abandoned industrial building that became home this year to an assisted living facility operated by the Visiting Nurses Association. The project created 45 new jobs and filled a vital community need. EPA funding for a site assessment of the former Post Office Square in Lowell was essential for the cleanup and redevelopment of this property, which is now the home of the 6,000-seat Paul E. Tsongas Sports Arena.

Other targeted site assessments were announced today for Brookfield, Monson, Northampton and Franklin, Mass., and Providence, RI.