EPA Announces $330k in Supplemental Funds to Clean Up and Revitalize Brownfield Sites in Connecticut
Funds are part of $11.6 million awarded nationwide
BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing $330,000 in supplemental funding for a current successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grantee in Connecticut, the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG). The NVCOG is among nine groups in New England selected to receive a total of $3.35 million.
The supplemental funds announced today are going to communities that have demonstrated success in using their revolving loan funds to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The supplemental funds will be used to continue their progress in revitalizing vacant and abandoned properties and turning them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities.
"EPA Brownfields funding provides a much-needed boost for economic development and job creation in Connecticut, and in many of New England's hardest hit and underserved communities," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. "The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments been selected to receive additional funds, thanks to their proven track record of success. This group has redevelopment projects already lined up and ready to go, putting businesses to work and transforming local communities. COVID-19 has impacted every corner of New England and these grants have never been more important to our local partners or local economies."
"Many of the brownfields cleanups supported by EPA's Revolving Loan Funding are in economically disadvantaged communities where environmental cleanup and jobs are needed most," said Carlton Waterhouse, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management. "This supplemental funding will help sustain and increase the great progress these communities have made in cleaning up brownfields sites, while also helping them become stronger, healthier, and more economically competitive."
The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments is receiving $330,000 to recapitalize their loan fund from which they will finance cleanup activities. This award will increase their current loan fund to over $1.1 million. Potential projects will focus on cleaning up sites in West Central Connecticut communities, such as the Nova Dye mill site in Waterbury, the Ansonia Brass and Copper Mill site in Ansonia as well as other former industrial and commercial sites in need of redevelopment. Including its other grants in the past, the council will have received a total of more than $7 million in EPA Brownfields funding by the end of this year.
"This expression of confidence in NVCOG by the EPA is a great tribute to the work of our Brownfields team over these last 20 years. Despite our decades of success here in Waterbury, both the cities and small towns in the Waterbury region have much work to do in continuing to bring numerous Brownfield sites back to productive uses for our community. This investment by EPA helps us to do this important work," said Neil O'Leary, Mayor of the City of Waterbury and Chairman of the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.
"Our Revolving Loan Fund Program provides critically important funding to both municipalities and private developers. In the Naugatuck Valley Region, we need to equalize the cost of redeveloping our numerous brownfields with the cost of developing our disappearing farms and open spaces. This EPA program helps to create a bankable deal for developers using Brownfields by bringing these sites to the equivalent of 'flat and clean.' Following this type of investment of public funds, developers are able to seek traditional financing, making our efforts to reuse our mills and Brownfields competitive with Greenfield development, creating new economic opportunity for our region," said Rick Dunne, Executive Director of the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.
Brownfield RLF grants enable funding for communities to provide loans and sub-grants for cleanup activities at brownfield sites. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.
To date, EPA's RLF grantees across the country have completed 794 cleanups and attracted approximately 48,000 jobs and $16.2 billion in public and private funding. Today's supplemental funds will help communities keep the cleanup momentum going so that more cleanups can be completed.
"This grant is a great force multiplier for economic and community progress. Transforming brownfields to green spaces and productive uses is a wise investment of federal resources. As our state recovers from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, these funds help expand economic opportunities and create stronger and healthier communities. We are proud to support these grants and will fight tirelessly to secure such funds for our communities in the future," said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
"Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley have a multitude of sites that will benefit from the EPA's Brownfields Program. This investment in assessment funding will bring several of those sites one step closer to redevelopment. The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments has a proven record of leveraging this funding to its fullest potential, and I cannot thank them enough for their outstanding work. As Chair of the Appropriations Committee, I am committed to continuing investments like these that address public health and environmental concerns and support economic growth across Connecticut," said U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.
"Brownfields have created unsightly environments and imposed hazardous conditions on residents for decades. I am pleased that the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG) will receive another Revolving Loan Fund Grant to help restore these spaces and promote economic growth. Brownfield remediation in this district has been a priority and I look forward to continuing the work with Mayor O'Leary and the Council to bring necessary relief back to Connecticut. The readiness of NVCOG to kick-start jobs, and drive economic growth is commendable, and a model for future opportunities," said U.S. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.
"DEEP is proud to continue to work with EPA, and with cities, towns, private developers and non-profit organizations to facilitate redevelopment of brownfields in large and small communities across Connecticut," Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said. "These EPA grants will help turn brownfields that pose an environmental and economic burden into assets that make these communities better places to live, work and play, and help Connecticut continue to grow its economy. EPA's brownfield grants are often the first money that is invested in the redevelopment of long-abandoned contaminated properties. EPA's investment in brownfields is a down payment that unlocks additional investment by the state and by private development. Congratulations to the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments for their success in receiving this additional EPA brownfields funding."
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. Since 1995, EPA's Brownfields Program has provided nearly $1.6 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. To date, these brownfields investments have leveraged more than $34.5 billion in cleanup and redevelopment in communities across the country. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, more than 176,800 jobs.
Grants awarded by EPA's Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, brownfields grants are shown to:
- Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
- Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15 percent following cleanup.
EPA's Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
EPA's Brownfield Investments in New England communities: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-and-land-revitalization-region-1
EPA's Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields