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EPA Provides Brownfields Grants to Maine Communities

Brownfields Funding Leverages Jobs and Promotes Economic Redevelopment

07/25/2017
Contact Information: 
Emily Bender (bender.emily@epa.gov)
617-918-1037

BOSTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency celebrated the recipients of nine Brownfields grants in Maine. This year, entities in Maine will receive $2.7 million for assessment and cleanup of Brownfield sites.

"EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA's Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President's budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program."

"Brownfields redevelopment has had a major impact on Maine’s economy and environment," said Maine DEP Commissioner Paul Mercer. "We are grateful to EPA for making the funds available to Maine and encourage establishments who are interested in the program to contact DEP and work with our staff."

Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, Maine:

EPA has selected the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments for a Brownfields assessment grant for $200,000. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct up to six Phase I and up to four Phase II environmental site assessments, and prepare four cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to support community outreach activities. The target areas will be the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn, and Towns of Rumford and Wilton, which are along the Androscoggin River.

City of Bangor

EPA has selected the City of Bangor for a Brownfields assessment grant for $200,000. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct five Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to update a brownfields inventory, prepare four cleanup plans, and support community outreach activities.

Town of Berwick

EPA has selected the Town of Berwick for a Brownfields cleanup grant for $200,000. Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up the Prime Tanning Blue Sort Building at 35 Sullivan Street. Tannery operations occurred at the site from approximately 1930 until 2008, when the mill closed and the Prime Tanning owners filed for bankruptcy protection. The site previously had various manufacturing uses, including wool pulling, sash and door manufacturing, laundry operations, shoe manufacturing, and lumber activities. The site is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Grant funds also will be used for cleanup planning and community involvement activities.

Town of Hallowell

EPA has selected the City of Hallowell for two Brownfields assessment grants for a combined total of $300,000. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct four Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop four cleanup plans. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct four Phase I and three Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop three cleanup plans. Grant funds of both types also will be used to support community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on downtown Hallowell, the riverfront, and surrounding neighborhoods.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection

EPA has selected the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for two Brownfields assessment grants for a combined total of $300,000. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct seven Phase I and six Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop three cleanup plans. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct three Phase I and three Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop two cleanup plans. Grant funds of both types also will be used to support community outreach activities, including three public meetings. Assessment activities will focus on the Towns of Millinocket, East Millinocket, and Lincoln.

Our Katahdin of Millinocket

EPA has selected Our Katahdin for a Brownfields cleanup grant for $200,000. Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up the 10,000-square foot former Miller's Department Store building at 230 Penobscot Avenue in Millinocket, which has been vacant since 2008. Previous uses of the cleanup site include a bowling alley, cigar factory, jewelry store, and department store. The site is contaminated with PCBs, heavy metals, and organic and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities.

Eastern Maine Development Corp (EMDC)

EPA has selected the Eastern Maine Development Corporation for a $200,000 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant. The Eastern Maine Development Corporation will work with the community and other stakeholders to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for the former Verso Paper Mill project area. Key partners who will work with the Eastern Maine Development Corporation on this project include the Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Bucksport NEXT, Main Street Bucksport, and Bucksport Heart and Soul.

Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (SMPDC)

EPA is awarding SMPDC $600,000 in Supplemental Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) funding in order to continue and recapitalize its highly successful RLF program in the southern Maine area. This additional funding will go toward cleanup activities at catalytic Brownfields sites awaiting redevelopment like the Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford, Prime Tanning in Berwick and Eagle Drive in Sanford.

Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG)

EPA is awarding KVCOG $500,000 in Supplemental RLF funding in order to continue its successful RLF program in the Kennebec Valley region of Maine. This additional cleanup funding will help fund critical Brownfields cleanup project such as the Seton Redevelopment in Waterville and the Hartland Tannery in Hartland.

Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding a total of $10.4 million for 32 communities to assess or clean brownfields, as well as $750,000 for technical assistance to six communities. 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. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment.

In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 382 assessment grants totaling $103.9 million, 73 revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding totaling $90 million and 290 cleanup grants totaling $69.9 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $2.4 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for nearly 15,499 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.

As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged as a result of assessment grants and other EPA Brownfields grants. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.

What They Are Saying:

Berwick, Maine: "This grant will help us complete the last phase of the Prime Tanning Cleanup. This community driven project has brought new life to our Downtown and has helped bring economic interests as well as providing much needed green space." - Steven Eldridge, Town Manager

Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments: "The AVCOG Brownfields program has been and invaluable tool leading to redevelopment of unused, vacant, or underutilized commercial and industrial properties in our tri-county region, and this funding will enable us to continue unlocking the potential of our brownfields and revitalizing our communities." - Amy Landry, Executive Director

City of Hallowell: "Hallowell will use brownfields assessment funds to activate two key redevelopment sites for mixed use development, housing, and greenspace, and will also address potential hazardous exposure in other location around the in-town area that will improve the quality of life for Hallowell residents and citizens." - Nate Rudy, City Manager

Kennebec Valley Council of Governments: "Kennebec Valley Council of Governments is sincerely grateful for the opportunity to continue our Brownfields program through supplemental funding. In our district of Kennebec, Somerset and western Waldo counties, our Revolving Loan Fund Program has enabled the reuse of a contaminated schoolhouse as a food hub, the development of a disused tannery as a small manufacturing space, the creation of new medical building on the site of a contaminated and deserted steel manufacturing business, and the creation of housing in a former hospital building." - Rosie Vanadestine, Executive Director

Maine DEP: "The assessment of Brownfields sites in Maine is a critical first step on the path to safe redevelopment and re-use of these underutilized properties, and we look forward to a productive partnership with EPA." - Nick Hodgkins, Brownfields Coordinator

Our Katahdin of Millinocket: "We believe in the future of the Katahdin region. We believe the redevelopment of this highly visible and historic downtown property will be a bellwether for further regional redevelopment & thanks to this cleanup grant that redevelopment is now one step closer to reality!" - Sean DeWitt President Our Katahdin

City of Bangor: "The City of Bangor values our partnership with the EPA Brownfields program, and this $200,000 for site assessment work will allow us to continue to assess remaining contaminated properties within the City and bring them back to life," said Council Chair Joseph Baldacci. "Redevelopment is an imperative in today’s economic development world, and this EPA program brings additional funding to projects that otherwise may not be able to move forward." - Council Chair Joe Baldacci

Eastern Maine Development Corp: "The Area-wide planning grant has given the Town of Bucksport the opportunity to coordinate the grass-roots efforts that emerged after the announced closing of the Verso Paper Mill in 2014. The Town of Bucksport will build on these efforts and develop a community driven plan that focuses on jobs, investment, and opportunity." - Michael Aube, President

Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission: "The Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (SMPDC) is deeply appreciative of the supplemental funding for our Revolving Loan Fund Program, which will enable us to continue with our active clean-up efforts in communities both large and small all over York and southern Oxford County. To date the funding has resulted in 18 loan and grant awards for clean-up, accounting for 140 new jobs created, 52 million in leveraged private and public sector dollars and 240 units of new housing. We look forward to continuing with these efforts." - Paul Schumacher, Executive Director

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