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Federal and City Officials Visit Site of Future Cleanup and Redevelopment in Downtown Jersey City

Release Date: 06/11/2012
Contact Information: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck today joined U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy at an old industrial site that will be assessed, cleaned up and redeveloped with funds provided through the EPA Brownfields Program. Brownfields are properties at which moderate contamination threatens environmental quality and public health and can interfere with redevelopment. The EPA recently awarded $1.67 million in brownfields grants to help revitalize and reinvest in Jersey City neighborhoods. Of these grants, $350,000 will be used to assess properties in the area visited today. Since, 1997, the EPA has awarded Jersey City $3.7 million in brownfields grants.

“EPA brownfields grants help transform abandoned and contaminated sites into community assets and create jobs,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “Brownfields cleanups protect people’s health and the environment by addressing sources of pollution, improving the lives of those who live and work in these communities.”

The EPA Brownfields program, created by Congress in 2002, helps communities assess, clean up, redevelop and reuse contaminated properties, ranging from former industrial parcels to old gas stations. The cleanup of contaminated properties and the ultimate investment in their redevelopment protects people’s health and the environment, reduces blight, revitalizes neighborhoods and creates jobs. EPA’s Brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

Through the EPA Brownfields Program:

  • The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency will receive $350,000 to assess brownfields at the Grand Jersey brownfield development area site on Jersey Avenue and Aetna Street. The area was once part of the former Communipaw Bay. After the area was filled in, it was used as a rail yard, a metal smelter and reclamation facility, a paper recycling center, a manufacturing facility for waterproofing and insulating materials and a transformer facility. Grant funds will also be used to prepare cleanup plans and conduct community outreach activities.
  • The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency will also receive $400,000 to clean up sites at 441 and 443 Ocean Avenue that are contaminated with hazardous substances. Both sites were developed between 1898 and 1912 for mixed residential and retail use. The sites were vacated and all structures were demolished in 1988. The sites contain old fill material contaminated with heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and soil and groundwater contaminated with perchloroethylene. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities.
  • Lastly, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency will receive $928,090 to support a revolving loan fund from which the city will provide loans and sub-grants to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances and petroleum. Grant funds also will be used to market the program, oversee fund management activities and provide technical support for the program.

In addition to Jersey City, EPA selected Newark to receive grants totaling $600,000 million to help Newark clean up similarly contaminated sites.

The EPA recently announced a total of more than $69.3 million in new investments across the country that will redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and help create jobs while protecting public health. Since its inception, EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $16.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have created approximately 70,000 jobs. The 214 grantees receiving grants through the Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup Grants programs include tribes and communities in 39 states across the country. The agency also announced nearly $4 million nationally in multipurpose grants that allow for a quicker transition between assessing a site and conducting a cleanup.

Information on grant recipients can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields.

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