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EPA Selects Three South Carolina Entities to Receive Share of $749,338 for Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment

05/14/2020
Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (region4press@epa.gov)
(404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 14, 2020)– Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker announced EPA is awarding three entities in South Carolina Brownfields grants, totaling $749,338. Recipients include the City of Anderson ($300,000), the Town of Central ($149,338) and the City of Rock Hill ($300,000).

“The grants will provide these communities in South Carolina with resources to clean up contaminated lands and return them to productive use,” said Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Overall, Brownfields funding provides communities with an opportunity to convert contaminated sites into community assets that will attract jobs, encourage partnerships and achieve broader economic development outcomes,”

 “The Rock Hill community is heavily invested in Knowledge Park.  This endeavor has been in the works for many years and is the result of tremendous effort by local leaders and our business community,” said U.S. Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-5).  “This area will ultimately bring thousands of jobs and have a significant positive economic impact on Rock Hill, York County, and both Carolinas.  For this reason, and because there will clearly be a return on this investment, I am pleased that a Brownfields Assessment Grant has been awarded to the City of Rock Hill for the site assessments, environmental cleanup, and other activities related to Knowledge Park.”

Nationwide, the agency is announcing the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA brownfields funding through 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 communities selected this year, 118 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.

The grant recipients in South Carolina include:

The City of Anderson will receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct six Phase I and six Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop three cleanup plans and one area-wide plan, and to support community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on the city’s ABC Streets Community and its immediate surrounding areas. Priority sites include two former mill sites that were destroyed by fire and are vacant, five medium-sized industrial buildings previously used for steel manufacturing and storage activities, two vacant dry cleaners, and an abandoned garage and service station.

"The City of Anderson is pleased to be awarded an EPA Brownfields grant. We appreciate the opportunity to work with our federal partners to leverage the power of our collective resources,” said Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts. “This community-wide assessment, focused on the Anderson Mill site and adjacent neighborhoods, gives us the opportunity to propel this historic property into use to serve the future. Gaining a better understanding of environmental issues will assist in cleanup/redevelopment of these blighted properties, improve air and water quality, and make the community more attractive for businesses, jobs, and housing options.” 

The Town of Central will receive a $149,338 Brownfields Cleanup Grant. Grant funds will be used to clean up the Central Garage at 704 W Main Street, the Central Laundromat at 703 W Main Street, and the Public Health Building at 225 Broad Street. The 0.5-acre Central Garage site was used as a gasoline and service station from 1949 to 1998 and has since been vacant. It is contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, PCBs, metals, and inorganic contaminants. The Central Laundromat site formerly housed coin-operated washers and dryers, as well as a used car lot on the southern portion of the site. It is contaminated with debris, metals, and inorganic contaminants. The Public Health Building is a former county public health center that operated from the early 1950s to the 1990s. Since then, it has remained largely vacant. The site contains an underground storage tank and is contaminated with metals and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to support community outreach activities.

“I am excited about entering the next phase of this process of redeveloping these properties and we are extremely grateful that the Brownfield Grants is assisting in the cost to abate the contaminates that exist on these properties,” said Town of Central Mayor Clyde “Mac” Martin. “Thank you so much for helping us and we look forward to the day when these properties are redeveloped.”

The City of Rock Hill will receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 14 Phase I and eight Phase II environmental site assessments and prepare a site inventory. Grant funds also will be used to develop four cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on the city’s Knowledge Park neighborhood, which is in a Qualified Opportunity Zone. Knowledge Park is home to several abandoned textile and manufacturing sites located within the city’s Textile Corridor. Priority sites include two contiguous vacant parcels that historically have been used as a cottonseed warehouse, a fertilizer warehouse, an automobile dealership, and a service station, and a 1.9-acre site formerly occupied by a mall that was demolished in 1993.

“The City of Rock Hill has had a successful brownfields program for many years.  Redeveloping an old 5.4-acre mill site into affordable housing and currently working on redevelopment of a pivotal 5.4 acre printing and finishing company site to a mixed use property which includes the 170,000 sq ft. Rock Hill Sports and Event Center,” said Corinne Sferrazza, Community Development Coordinator.  “The City of Rock Hill is currently assessing over 13 sites in the downtown area with many more assessments to be completed, the City is always evolving.  Recently recognized by the EPA as leveraging the most amount of money among cities under 100,000, the City of Rock Hill has leveraged over $100 Million dollars in our Knowledge Park area.” 

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% following cleanup.

Background

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, from both public and private sources, leveraged 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.

List of the FY 2020 applicants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2020-brownfields-assessment-revolving-loan-fund-and-cleanup-0

For more on the brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields

For more information about 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

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