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Three Puerto Rico Municipalities Receive Checks from EPA

Release Date: 05/05/2010
Contact Information: Brenda Reyes (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov or Bonnie Bellow (646) 369-0062, bellow.bonnie@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator, Judith Enck, today presented ceremonial checks for EPA funding totaling $1 million to the Mayor’s of Camuy, Gurabo and Juncos. The municipalities will use the funding to identify and assess sites to determine if they must be cleaned up before they can be redeveloped and put to productive use. The funding was given under EPA’s brownfields program, which helps communities clean up, redevelop, and reuse sites that range from major industrial parcels to small facilities to old gas stations. Brownfields are properties at which redevelopment is hindered by toxic pollution. The cleanup of contaminated properties previously used for industrial or commercial purposes and the ultimate investment in their redevelopment protects the environment, reduces blight, revitalizes neighborhoods, and takes development pressure off open space.

“The EPA brownfields grants will help revitalize parts of three communities from both an environmental and economic development perspective,” said Judith Enck, Regional Administrator. “These assessments can lead to cleanups that will protect the health of area residents and provide opportunities for development projects that benefit communities, produce jobs, and improve the quality of people’s lives.”

In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was adopted by Congress to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment, revolving loan fund, cleanup, and job training. EPA’s brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

The following municipalities will receive brownfields grants to assess sites with hazardous substances and petroleum contamination:

  • The municipality of Camuy was selected to receive one $200,000 assessment grant for hazardous substances and one $200,000 assessment grant for petroleum contamination. Brownfields in Camuy include a former sugar mill, abandoned gas stations, former shoe and clothing factories, and printing shops.
  • The municipality of Gurabo will receive a $200,000 assessment grant for petroleum contamination. The municipality has identified 20 potential brownfields sites that include abandoned industrial facilities and former gas stations.
  • The municipality of Juncos will receive $200,000 in hazardous substances assessment grants and $200,000 in petroleum contamination assessment grants. Juncos was once home to heavy machinery manufacturing facilities, sugar mills and tobacco factories. By the late 1970s, much of the industry had left Juncos, leaving abandoned facilities and areas of contamination. The assessment grants will be put toward identifying contaminated facilities and properties in Juncos for future cleanup work.

Since the beginning of the brownfields program in 1995, EPA has awarded 1,702 assessment grants totaling $401 million, 262 revolving loan fund grants totaling more than $256.7 million, and 655 cleanup grants totaling $129.4 million. As part of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s commitment to this program, the 2011 proposed budget includes an increase to $215 million for brownfields with a focus on planning, cleanup, job training and redevelopment.

For more information on the grant recipients, go to: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields or, for general information on the Brownfields program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/brownfields.

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