EPA Announces the Selection of $6 Million In Funding for Brownfields Assessment Grants to Contaminated Properties in Maine
AUGUSTA - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that 14 grantees in the state of Maine have been selected to receive $6 million in EPA Brownfields assessment funding and technical assistance. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities around the state in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.
"These grants fulfill several of President Trump's top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones."
The Maine based grantees are among 151 grants awarded nationwide, totaling $64.6 million. The EPA Brownfields funding will provide communities with funding to ;assess underutilized and possibly contaminated properties that are being considered for redevelopment. EPA intends to award Brownfields grants to the following groups for sites in Maine:
- The City of Belfast with a $300,000 grant for community-wide site assessment.
- The Children's Museum & Theater of Maine, in Portland, with a $500,000 cleanup grant.
- The City of Lewiston, with a $500,000 cleanup grant.
- The Town of Lincoln, with a $350,000 grant for assessment at the Lincoln Pulp & Paper site.
- The Town of Lincoln, with a $300,000 grant for community-wide assessment.
- The Maine Port Authority, in Portland, with a $500,000 cleanup grant.
- The Marble Block Redevelopment Corp., in Biddeford, with a $500,000 cleanup grant.
- The City of Old Town, with a $300,000 assessment grant.
- The Portland Housing Authority, with a $500,000 cleanup grant.
- The City of Sanford, with a $800,000 multi-purpose grant.
- The South Portland Housing Development Corp., with a $500,000 cleanup grant.
- The City of South Portland, with a $300,000 assessment grant.
- The Washington County Council of Governments, with a $300,000 assessment grant.
- Waterfall Arts, in Belfast, with a $350,000 cleanup grant.
"Communities across Maine will benefit from EPA Brownfields funding," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. "Brownfields funding jump starts environmental cleanup at contaminated properties allowing them to be re-developed to benefit the community and its residents."
EPA's Brownfields grants and assistance to Maine this year are among other significant annual investments by EPA to help New England communities to address brownfield properties. Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding a total of $11.6 million for over 30 communities to assess or clean contaminated brownfields sites.
"Maine will benefit greatly from this substantial grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The funding will allow Maine DEP to assist communities statewide with clean-up and redevelopment possibilities," said Maine DEP Commissioner Jerry Reid. "Many Maine towns are working to reinvent themselves by attracting clean, modern industries after local mills closed. Sanford is a perfect example. EPA's Brownfields Initiative will promote the clean-up and redevelopment of projects like Sanford's Mill District and complement other similar revitalization projects across the state."
Grants awarded by EPA's Brownfield 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 have been 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% following cleanup.
More about the Maine Grants:
City of Belfast
The City of Belfast is receiving $300,000 for community-wide Brownfields assessment work. The City plans to use the funds to conduct nine environmental site assessments, and develop four cleanup plans.
Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine
The Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine is receiving $500,000 for cleanup of hazardous substances. The grant funds will be used to clean up the Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine at the Thompson's Point site in the City of Portland. The 1.12-acre parcel originally was developed as a railroad yard for the Maine Central Railroad in the late 1800s. Railroad use continued through the 1930s, and by the 1940s other industry, including an ordnance plant, had moved into the adjoining buildings. Between the 1960s through the 1980s, the tracks were removed from the site, and a variety of industrial and commercial business occupied the adjoining buildings. The site is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PCBs, arsenic, and metals with limited co-mingled residual petroleum contamination.
City of Lewiston
The City of Lewiston will receive $500,000 for cleanup of hazardous substances. The grant funds will be used to clean up the Bates Weave Shed (Mill #5) site located at 15 Canal Street. The site was first developed as a planing mill and lumber yard in 1856, housed a weave shed from 1914 to 2000, and has been vacant since 2000. The site is contaminated with inorganic contaminants, metals, and PCBs.
Town of Lincoln
The Town of Lincoln will receive two Brownfields Assessment Grants, one for the Lincoln Pulp and Paper Site and one for community-wide assessment activities, for a total of $650,000. Under the Community-wide grant, the Town plans to assess up to twelve sites throughout the community. Site-specific grant funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessment, and plan for reuse and cleanup of the Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill site at 50 Katahdin Avenue. Past uses of the site include a saw mill, a shingle mill, and a paper and pulp mill. The site closed in 2014 after a boiler explosion caused catastrophic damage and it currently sits idle. Both types of grant funds also will be used to expand an existing inventory of sites and support community involvement activities.
Maine Port Authority
The Maine Port Authority will receive $500,000 to clean up hazardous substances at the Portland International Marine Terminal Cold Storage Site, located at 40 West Commercial Street in the City of Portland. The 21-acre site operated as a manufactured gas plant until it was decommissioned in 1965. Most recently, the site was used for a natural gas/propane distribution facility until 2016 and is currently vacant. The site is contaminated with coal ash, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, metals, and volatile and semivolatile organic compounds.
Marble Block Redevelopment Corporation
The Marble Block Redevelopment Corporation will receive $500,000 to be used to clean up the WestPoint Stevens Mill Boiler House located at 2 Main Street in the City of Biddeford. The site formerly was part of a large mill complex that operated from the late 19th century until 2009. The buildings on the site are contaminated with inorganic contaminants, metals, PCBs, and mercury. The subsurface soils at the site are contaminated with co-mingled polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic, metals, and petroleum.
City of Old Town
The City of Old Town will receive $300,000 for community-wide Brownfields assessment work. The City plans to conduct fifteen environmental site assessments, and develop seven cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to assemble a brownfield advisory committee and hold at least three public meetings. The target areas for the grant include Main Street and Stillwater Avenue, which served industrial mills built along the Stillwater and Penobscot Rivers.
Portland Housing Authority
The Portland Housing Authority will receive $500,000 for a hazardous substances clean up grant. The funds will be used to clean up two parcels at the Front Street Redevelopment site located at 37 and 63 Front Street in the City of Portland. Prior to 1956, the site existed as undeveloped tidal flats that were filled in and later developed in 1971 as an apartment complex. The site is contaminated with metals, inorganic contaminants, and PCBs. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities, including up to three public meetings where translators will be present.
City of Sanford
The City of Sanford will receive $800,000 for a Brownfields Multipurpose Grant. Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct 11 environmental site assessments in the Sanford Energy Redevelopment Corridor and clean up the 17-acre former CGA Circuit Board site, which is targeted for solar and recreational development. Grant funds also will be used to develop plans for market analysis, development, and site reuse and to conduct community involvement activities.
South Portland Housing Development Corporation
The South Portland Housing Development Corporation will receive $500,000 to clean up hazardous substances at the Thornton Heights Commons site located at 611 Main Street in the City of South Portland. The 1.81-acre site was first developed as a church and residences in the early 1940s and operated as a religious institution and school until 2013. It has been vacant since then. It is contaminated with hazardous building materials including metals, inorganic contaminants, and PCBs.
City of South Portland
The City of South Portland will receive $300,000 for community-wide assessment work. The City plans to conduct fifteen environmental site assessments and prepare eight cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to assemble a brownfield advisory committee and hold at least three public meetings. The target areas for this grant include the waterfront neighborhoods of Knightville, Ferry Village, Pleasantdale, and Ligonia.
Washington County Council of Governments, Machias, Lebuc and Eastport, ME
The Washington County Council of Governments will receive $300,000 for Brownfields assessment work. The Council plans to conduct sixteen environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to prepare a cleanup and redevelopment plan and conduct community involvement activities. The target areas for this grant are the coastal Towns of Machias and Lubec and City of Eastport with the adjoining Passamaquoddy tribal land.
Waterfall Arts, Belfast, ME
Waterfall Arts was selected to receive $350,000 to clean up hazardous substances at the historic Waterfall Arts building located at 256 High Street in the City of Belfast. The building, dating from 1935, is contaminated with metals, inorganic contaminants, PCBs, and mercury.
"I am truly excited to join as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces over $64 million in Brownfield funding," said Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. "The Brownfields grant program is a tremendous vehicle for bringing real revitalization and transformation to the distressed communities of America. As the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council I am pleased that EPA continues to support the Council and the President's work in this area. In fact, of the 149 communities selected for these grants, 108 will benefit communities with Opportunity Zones. I look forward to seeing the impact that these grants will have on neighborhoods and citizens across the country."
In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded $114 million in assessment grant funding, $109 million in revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding and $75 million in cleanup grant funding. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $3.18 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for over 20,806 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.
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. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. As of May 2019, under the EPA Brownfields Program 30,153 properties have been assessed, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than $28 billion of public and private funding.
In 2018 Congress reauthorized the statutory authority for the Brownfields Program. The reauthorization included changes to the program to expand the list of entities eligible for Brownfields grants, increase the limit of individual Brownfields cleanup grants to $500,000, and add grant authority for Multipurpose grants. These important changes will help communities address and cleanup more complex brownfield sites.
- List of the FY 2019 Applicants Selected for Funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants
- EPA Booklet: "Brownfields: Properties with New Purpose, Improving Local Economies in Communities with Brownfield Sites" https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-06/documents/bf_booklet.pdf
- EPA Brownfields Grants overview: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
- EPA's Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields