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EPA Region 8 awards seven projects to assess and clean up blighted properties

Release Date: 05/15/2006
Contact Information: Richard Mylott, (303) 312-6654

{05/12/2006} Denver, Colo.- Seven communities in three EPA Region 8 states will share nearly $1.4 million in grants to help transform community eyesores into community assets. The brownfields assessment and cleanup grants promote the redevelopment of abandoned and contaminated or potentially contaminated waste sites. Nationwide, EPA awarded 292 grants totaling nearly $70 million. Summaries of Region 8 projects can be found below.

“Building on decades of environmental growth and economic gains, President Bush and EPA continue to put both people and property back to work,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “By turning problem properties back into community assets, EPA is handing down better health and a brighter future to the next generation of Americans.”

The brownfields program encourages turning America's estimated 450,000 problem properties to productive community use. Since the beginning of the brownfields program, EPA has awarded 883 assessment grants totaling $225.4 million, 202 revolving loan fund grants totaling $186.7 million, and 238 cleanup grants totaling $42.7 million.

In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfields approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas stations to housing. EPA's brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $8.2 billion in private investment, helped create 37,525 jobs and resulted in the assessment of 8,374 properties and the cleanup of 93 properties.

The $69.9 million in grants include:
184 grants totaling $36.6 million for conducting site assessment and planning for eventual cleanup at one or more brownfields sites or as part of a community-wide effort.
96 grants totaling $18.3 million for cleanup activities at brownfields sites.
12 grants totaling $15 million to capitalize a revolving loan fund and provide subgrants for cleanup activities at brownfields sites. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low interest loans for brownfields cleanups.

Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In January 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.

More information on the grant recipients: epa.gov/brownfields/archive/pilot_arch.htm

More information on the Brownfields program: epa.gov/brownfields



      Colorado

      Boulder County
      Boulder County has been selected to receive a $200K EPA brownfields cleanup grant for the 13.7-acre Argo mine site near Jamestown, Colo. Waste tailings piles and soils on the site are currently loading copper, iron, zinc and magnesium into Little James Creek. Planned cleanup activities include capping and removing mine waste piles, revegetation and erosion control, and a passive water treatment system that will reduce the runoff of metals into the creek.

      The Argo Mine is located within a cluster of historical mining sites in the Lefthand Watershed, which serves as a drinking water supply for 18,000 local residents. The site is presently managed by the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department and will be protected as open space following cleanup. This project is part of a larger watershed improvement plan developed by local stakeholders and government agencies to address mine-related impacts in the area.

      City and County of Denver
      The City and County of Denver has been selected to receive an EPA brownfields assessment grant that will help assess environmental conditions at seven blighted properties identified as transit-oriented development centers. The $200K grant is the first step in assessing and cleaning up potential contamination at these properties, which are part of a City initiative to build 119 new miles of commuter and light rail systems in the metro region by 2016. The transit-oriented development centers will be hubs for mixed use redevelopment and economic investment in currently distressed areas.

      San Juan County
      San Juan County has been selected to receive a $200K EPA brownfields cleanup grant that will help remove lead, arsenic and barium-contaminated soils at the Walsh-Martha Rose Smelter site near Silverton, Colo. The project will enable the County to proceed with plans to develop 48 energy-efficient, affordable housing units on the 12-acre site. Part of the property will also be developed for active recreation, including a bike and walking trail that will connect the site to Silverton's central business district and the Rainbow Route Trail.

      Montana

      Lewis and Clark County
      Lewis and Clark County has been selected to receive an EPA brownfields assessment grant that will help inventory and prioritize abandoned and blighted properties throughout the Helena Valley, including the cities of Helena and East Helena. The $200K grant will be used to conduct environmental assessments and develop cleanup plans at least eight of the target area's brownfields properties. These include mine and mill sites, former dumps, sawmills and at least 17 known methamphetamine labs. When revitalized, many of these brownfields sites will be used for affordable housing and mixed use development.

      Miles City Housing Authority
      Miles City Housing Authority has been selected to receive an EPA brownfields cleanup grant. The Housing Authority intends to use the $200K grant to remove drums and waste materials from former hospital buildings and to convert two buildings on the 2000 block of Clark St. into 21 affordable apartments for low-income families. A third building will be demolished to create greenspace.

      Powell County
      Powell County has been selected to receive an EPA brownfields cleanup grant that will help revitalize the Deer Lodge Roundhouse site. Unused since 1980, the 14.5 acre site is contaminated with petroleum, diesel fuel and solvents left over from former rail maintenance, refueling and locomotive repair operations. The $200K grant will be used to remove fuel oil tanks, excavate and dispose of contaminated soil and conduct community outreach activities. Upon cleanup, the County plans to redevelop the property as a business park and a regional job-training facility.

      South Dakota
      The City of Belle Fourche
      The City of Belle Fourche has been selected to receive a $159K EPA brownfields assessment grant that will help assess environmental conditions at blighted sites along the Belle Fourche River and downtown business district. The assessment of these properties is the first step in the City's plans to create a riverfront walk and bike path and attract new commercial and residential development.