THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Agency awarded $2.7 million to Rhode Island for brownfields cleanup in Providence, Pawtucket and Westerly. Eight different municipalities and organizations received the grants, which are funded under the EPA's Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup grant program.
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island will receive more than $2.7 million to clean up properties in Pawtucket, Providence and Westerly that have been designated “brownfields,” where expansion or redevelopment is prevented due to hazardous pollutants or contaminants, the state’s congressional delegation announced Wednesday.
The funds were awarded under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup grant program, an initiative designed to encourage communities to prevent, assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse brownfield sites. The EPA distributed 48 separate grants totaling $17.5 million to municipalities and organizations working to clean up brownfields in New England communities, part of a $67 million investment nationwide.
“This federal funding will help local partners redevelop and restore these sites to productive use,” said Sen. Jack Reed, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees federal funding for all EPA programs. “Not only will this federal investment help protect public health and the environment, but it will also allow communities to work in partnership to generate job growth, increase surrounding property values and strengthen the local economy.”
Since the inception of the Brownfields grant program, the EPA has awarded 315 assessment grants totaling $90.5 million in New England, as well as 68 revolving loan fund grants totaling $85.2 million and 222 cleanup grants totaling $60.7 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $2.2 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for nearly 14,000 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment, the EPA said.
The following Rhode Island projects, organizations and municipalities have received federal brownfield cleanup and redevelopment grants in this round of awards:
60 King Street Inc. ($200,000) – Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up the former Imperial Knife Co. facility at 60 King St. in Providence, which is contaminated with trichloroethylene.
I-195 Redevelopment District Commission ($200,000) – Site-specific hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct a Phase II environmental site assessment and develop a cleanup plan for 26 acres of vacant land within the I-195 Redevelopment District in Providence. Grant funds also will be used to support community outreach activities.
R.I. Department of Environmental Management ($200,000) – Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct four Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments.
Town of Westerly ($200,000) – Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to perform 10 Phase I and five Phase II environmental site assessments, as well as to conduct community involvement and outreach activities.
Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency ($700,000) – The Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency will receive a brownfields revolving loan fund coalition grant. The grant will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities for sites contaminated with hazardous substances.
Olneyville Housing Corporation ($411,685) – Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up three sites in the Paragon Mills Complex in Providence that are contaminated with semi-volatile organic compounds and metals.
Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation ($400,000) – Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up two lots on Branch Street in Pawtucket that have been subject to illegal dumping and the overgrowth of invasive scrub vegetation. Contamination is believed to have come from residential heating systems, building debris and other urban fill materials.
Providence Redevelopment Agency ($400,000) – Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up Parcels A and B of the former American Tourister property located at 70 Houghton St. Contamination at the site includes heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds.
For more information about the EPA’s brownfields work in New England, visit www.epa.gov.