The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $3.2 million in brownfields grants to help assess and clean up abandoned industrial properties in Pennsylvania.
"Brownfields initiatives demonstrate how environmental protection and economic development work hand-in-hand," said Shawn M. Garvin, regional administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region. "Along with generating jobs, these grants will help Pennsylvania communities convert vacant industrial properties into assets for the community, the environment, and the economy."
The Pennsylvania grantees include:
Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. -- $1 million to assess brownfields properties in Lehigh and Northampton counties that have suffered from a decline of the steel industry. Lehigh Valley’s inventory lists 103 brownfields sites including 72 sites totaling 1,955 acres that are now vacant. Brownfields assessments will help continue the momentum for redevelopment and are expected to facilitate site cleanup and reuse.
Earth Conservancy, Luzerne County -- $600,000 to help clean up three former coal company owned lands totaling 113 acres in Hanover Township. When the coal mining industry declined, mining companies went bankrupt and abandoned the mines. Hanover Township encompasses 21 square miles of lands that are scarred by piles of coal waste and large pitted areas left from strip mining. All of the parcels are contaminated with acid mine drainage. Funds will be used to establish stormwater systems and conduct community involvement activities.
North Side Industrial Development Corp., Allegheny and Westomoreland Counties -- $400,000 to assess abandoned industrial properties along the Allegheny River in Verona Borough, East Deer Township, and the City of Arnold. Assessments will help identify and reduce threats to human health and the environment posed by the sites, and facilitate cleanup and redevelopment.
Taylor Borough Industrial Development Authority, Lackawanna County -- $400,000 to assess and clean up former coal mining land in the Anthracite region. Brownfields assessments will allow the borough to map the areas where subsidence occurred and identify areas where stabilization might prevent future hazards. Funds will also be used to specifically address cleanup work at a site known as the Taylor Colliery.
Central City Borough, Somerset County -- $200,000 to assess properties and develop cleanup plans for land formerly used in the coal mining industry. When coal mines closed, jobs were lost, and mounds of coal waste were left behind. Central City has identified 28 priority brownfields sites that are near residential areas. Brownfield assessments will help facilitate cleanup work and catalyze redevelopment and reuse.
Lackawanna Valley Conservancy, Lackawanna County -- $200,000 to help to clean up a 7.8-acre former mine site located off Forge Road and Howard Street. Acid mine drainage, which includes heavy metals, has impacted water quality in the area. The cleanup will reduce the threat of exposure to contamination, reduce erosion along the river banks, and improve water quality.
Lawrence County -- $200,000 to help identify brownfields sites in areas that have been impacted by closed steel mills and other manufacturing plants. The county expects to identify 120 and 150 brownfields sites. Brownfield assessments will help mitigate threats to area residents and create a foundation for leveraging funds for redevelopment.
Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development -- $200,000 to assess abandoned industrial properties at locations throughout Philadelphia.
The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of program, EPA has awarded 1,702 assessment grants totaling over $401.0 million, 262 revolving loan fund grants totaling over $256.7 million, and 655 cleanup grants totaling $129.4 million.
As of March 2010, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding and 61,277 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment. Assessments have been performed on 15,135 properties and 458 properties have been cleaned up.