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EPA Selects Six Projects in Connecticut to Receive $2.3 Million for Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment

EPA Brownfields Funding Helps Local Communities

05/06/2020
Contact Information: 
John Senn (senn.john@epa.gov)
617-918-1019

BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that five grantees in the state of Connecticut have been selected to receive $2.3 million for six projects to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency's Brownfields Program. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities around the state in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Under President Trump's Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfield grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of over 948 grants.

"COVID 19 has impacted the economy and redevelopment in every corner of this New England. Today's investment of EPA Brownfields assessment and cleanup funding provides a much-needed boost for economic development and job creation in many of New England's hardest hit and underserved communities," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Brownfields projects are always an economic catalyst, and this funding has never been more important to our local partners."

The Connecticut based grantees are among 155 grants that will be awarded for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding the agency's Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities, including neighborhoods located in Opportunity Zones, in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Of the 151 total communities selected, 118 of these communities can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated in these zones. In addition, nearly 30% of the communities selected today will receive brownfields funding for the first time.

"DEEP is proud to continue to partner with EPA, and with cities, towns and community organizations across Connecticut to address the burden posed by brownfields," said Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes. "EPA's grants are a critical first step that paves the way for investment in brownfields by the state and by private developers. DEEP greatly appreciates EPA's continuing commitment to brownfields redevelopment in Connecticut, and congratulates this year's recipients."

EPA intends to award Brownfields grants to the following groups for sites in Connecticut:

Capitol Region Council of Governments, Hartford, will be awarded a $300,000 Assessment Grant to conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup plans, and support reuse planning and community outreach activities for various sites to be selected throughout the grant. Assessment activities will target sites along the CTfastrak and CTrail transit corridors in the City of Hartford. Priority sites include former manufacturing facilities at 237 Hamilton Street and 175 Bartholomew Avenue, which are within a Qualified Opportunity Zone, and properties adjacent to the CTfastrak Parkville Station, which were previously used for petroleum storage.

"We are very grateful for EPA's award of this brownfields assessment grant which will enable CRCOG to continue its efforts to identify contaminated sites in the Capitol Region," said Lyle D. Wray, Executive Director of the Capitol Region Council of Governments. "Environmental assessment of brownfields is an important catalyst for the redevelopment of neglected and underutilized sites in the area and will advance our vision of transforming the Capitol Region into a viable and sustainable region."

City of Middletown will be awarded a $300,000 Assessment Grant to conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup plans, and support reuse planning and community outreach activities for various sites to be selected throughout the grant. The city's Riverfront area, which includes one Qualified Opportunity Zone, is the focus of this Assessment Grant. Priority sites include the Peterson Oil Company, the OMO site, Sumner Brook, and Jackson Corrugated Container sites.

"I am thrilled that EPA has awarded this important funding to the City of Middletown. All four sites that will be assessed for remediation are critical to the future of Middletown's riverfront, and this type of federal investment is indicative of how important that riverfront is to our whole region," said Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim. "I also want to thank Middletown's congressional delegation for their support, as well as students at the University of Connecticut Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who partnered with city staff to write our grant proposal. Their expertise was critical to crafting a winning application, and I am looking forward to working with them, the EPA, and the whole community to move this project forward in a collaborative way."

The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments was selected for a $800,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant to be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities. Revolving loan fund activities will focus on the City of Waterbury's Brownfields Corridor, which contains more than 45 acres of closed metal manufacturing and foundry sites within the low-income, minority South End neighborhood and five Qualified Opportunity Zones.

"The timing of this award could not have come at a more important time for the Naugatuck Valley with NVCOG's current Revolving Loan Program closing in September," said Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments Executive Director Rick Dunne. "This application prioritizes the City of Waterbury's focus on its South End and the 45-acre tract of abandoned mills concentrated in that area, and EPA's award to NVCOG will allow Waterbury create leverage for cleanup activities in its Opportunity Zones and at sites like Anamet."

City of New Haven will be awarded a $200,000 Assessment Grant to conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup plans, and support reuse planning and community outreach activities for various sites to be selected throughout the grant. The target area for this grant is the River Street industrial corridor. Priority sites include a 2-acre former manufacturing facility, a 0.5-acre scrap yard, and 0.6-acre blighted property along Chapel Street. All three priority sites are located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone.

"We are grateful at the City of New Haven for this grant to help remedy the brownfields in the Elm City—a  constant reminder of the industrial and manufacturing era," said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. "Monies set aside for land remediation are critical in our economic progress in the City, and now, with the growing challenges of this global pandemic, it is critical we continue to support our economy and provide more safe lands for future development. Thank you to the Environmental Protection Agency for your support in this challenging time."

City of Shelton will be awarded a $200,000 Assessment Grant to conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup plans, and support reuse planning and community outreach activities for various sites to be selected throughout the grant. The target area for this grant is a one-mile stretch of Canal Street from the Route 8 Commodore Hull Bridge to the Housatonic Canal Locks. Priority sites include the former Wilkinson Brothers site, a former paper mill, and the former Better Packages site, a demolished former one-acre network of brick, steel, and concrete buildings.

City of Shelton was also selected for a $500,000 Cleanup Grant to clean up the Former Star Pin Manufacturing facility at 267 Canal Street. The cleanup site was formerly used for pin manufacturing, metal plating, circuit building, electroplating, and waste treatment and storage. It is contaminated with heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community involvement activities.

"The City of Shelton is thankful to receive an Assessment Grant and Cleanup Grant for brownfields located in the downtown area of Shelton. Once a thriving manufacturing area, this section of Shelton has been dormant due to the contamination of the properties over many years," said Mayor Mark A. Lauretti, City of Shelton. "Today, the City of Shelton, in partnership with the EPA, DEEP and NVCOG, will be able to remediate these properties and allow the city's unprecedented development to continue in areas that were once contaminated and useless. The residents of the City will now benefit from the cleanup of our environment and allow economic development to proceed."

EPA's Brownfields grants and assistance to Connecticut 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 $7.2 million for over 16 communities to assess or clean contaminated brownfields sites.

In a joint statement, the Connecticut Congressional Delegation provided a statement from Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and Representatives Larson, Courtney, DeLauro, Himes, and Hayes:

"This funding is desperately needed more than ever to help revitalize communities and provide a much-needed boost to our local economy," said the delegation. "This substantial investment in our state will make a dramatic impact in cleaning up the mistakes of the past while working towards a more sustainable future. We applaud the EPA for their efforts to work with Connecticut communities to clean up brownfields that threaten our environment and deter economic development."

Background

In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded $123 million in assessment grant funding, $112 million in revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding and $82 million in cleanup grant funding. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $3.62 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for over 22,600 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment

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.

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 United States. EPA's Brownfields Program began in 1995 and 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, brownfields investments have leveraged more than $31 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding leveraged, from both public and private sources, more than 160,000 jobs.

The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

More information

Brownfields in New England: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-land-revitalization-region-1

List of the FY 2020 applicants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-05/documents/fy20_arc_grants_selected_for_funding.pdf (12 pp, 640 K, About PDF)

Types of EPA Brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

Basic Information on EPA's Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields

EPA's role in Opportunity Zones: https://www.epa.gov/opportunity-zones

For information on the studies related to the Brownfields Program's environmental and economic benefits: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-program-environmental-and-economic-benefits