Three Utah organizations to receive nearly $6 million to advance environmental cleanups
Utah DEQ, City of Green River and Salt Lake County among 265 nationwide to receive Brownfields Cleanup, Assessment and Revolving Loan Fund Grants to help build a better America while advancing environmental justice
SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing three Utah organizations will receive nearly $6 million to advance environmental cleanups. Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will receive $1,320,845 under the EPA Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant for States and Tribes program. City of Green River will receive $500,000 under the EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant program. Salt Lake County (on behalf of the Wasatch Coalition) will receive $3.9 million in supplemental funding under the EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Coalition program.
“With this funding, communities across the State of Utah will benefit from environmental cleanups and the economic and job benefits that they bring,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “I applaud Utah DEQ, Green River and Salt Lake County for making critical environmental and financial investments that support entire communities.
Utah DEQ plans to use grant funds to prepare an inventory of underutilized and abandoned sites and conduct 45 environmental site assessments. These site assessments will examine current and historical uses of properties, and sample soil, water, air and building materials, to evaluate potential contamination, determine cleanup options, and initiate reuse planning. Grant funds also will be used to develop four area-wide plans and to support community outreach activities. In the Cities of Ogden, Richfield, Vernal, and Moab, priority sites include the former Union Station North and East Campuses in Ogden, a 50-acre former landfill in Richfield, a vacant and underutilized former hotel in Vernal, and a vacant shooting range in Moab.
"The award is a recognition of the Utah DEQ's efforts to partner with our stakeholders to identify, assess and provide pathways to remediation and redevelopment for the benefit of Utah communities statewide,” said Bill Rees, Brownfields Section manager for Utah DEQ.
With this funding, the City of Green River will complete a brownfields site inventory and conduct 27 environmental site assessments. Grant funds will be used to develop five cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. Targeting the city’s Broadway and Main Street corridors, which contain over 20 potential brownfield sites, the City plans to prioritize three abandoned gas stations, a historic bank building, and a vacant motel and nightclub.
“Receipt of this support is a critical step in identifying suspected challenges in Green River’s built environment. This will give Green River property owners, the City, and the community of Green River the hard data it needs to make the town a more welcoming place to visit and an even more pleasant place to live,” said Mayor Ren Hatt, City of Green River. “I am grateful for all the work that has gone into making receipt of this grant possible and acknowledge the heavy workload and continued local participation necessary to make this a success.”
Salt Lake County and the Wasatch Front Brownfields Coalition will use additional funding to provide low interest loans to support the cleanup and redevelopment of sites in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Murray. Priority sites for cleanup include an industrial yard, a former steel fabrication plant for development of medium-density housing, and a former dry-cleaning site to spur a mixed-use project with high-density housing. The Coalition has recently completed several projects including the Ogden Business Exchange, Granton Square, Hamlet Development Bullion Street and Centro Civico Mexicano.
“We’re grateful for the EPA’s substantial investment in Salt Lake County. It expands our ability to effectively leverage the Revolving Loan Fund and make a difference,” said County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “This award will set up Salt Lake County to further environmental justice in our underserved communities for years to come. All our neighborhoods deserve to live in healthy environments with the promise of an equitable economic future.”
The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justive40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of this announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas. EPA’s Brownfields grants and other technical assistance programs like the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative are also helping to build the clean energy economy.
Today’s announcement includes approximately $180 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help turn brownfield sites across the nation into hubs of economic growth and job creation, along with more than $75 million from fiscal year 2022 appropriations.
The funding includes:
- $112.8 million for 183 selectees for Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
- $18.2 million for 36 selectees for Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient.
- $16.3 million for 17 selectees for Revolving Loan Fund grants that will provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.
- $107 million for 39 high-performing Revolving Loan Fund Grant recipients to help communities continue their work to carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects on contaminated brownfield properties. Supplemental funding for Revolving Loan Fund Grants is available to recipients that have depleted their funds and have viable cleanup projects ready for work.
The list of selected applicants is available here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2022-brownfields-assessment-rlf-cleanup-arc-grants-and-rlf
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:
- To date, this funding has led to more than 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and more than 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
- Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.43 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
- In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15% as a result of cleanup activities.
- Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.
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. Redevelopment made possible through the program includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways, and solar farms.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 16-19, 2022 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 (ICMA).