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Seven New York Communities to Receive EPA Funds to Assess and Clean Up Abandoned and Contaminated Sites

Release Date: 04/22/2010
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662, totman.elizabeth@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) Seven communities in upstate New York will be the beneficiaries of a total of $2.73 million in brownfields grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 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 seven very different New York State communities from both an environmental and economic development perspective,” said Judith Enck, Regional Administrator. “Not only will these cleanups protect the health of area residents, they will 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 New York villages, towns, cities and counties receiving brownfields grants:

The Village of Camden in Oneida County will receive a $200,000 hazardous substance grant to do cleanup work at the Laribee Machine Company site on Main Street. The site housed a machine shop with coking operations. Coke is carbonized coal, a product produced by baking coal in a heated oven. The property is now contaminated with heavy metals, which can result in damaged or reduced mental and central nervous function, and damage to lungs, kidneys, liver, and other vital organs, as well as coking byproducts, and potentially cancer-causing PCBs.

The town of Fort Edward in Washington County will receive two grants totaling $400,000 to assess hazardous substances and petroleum contamination. Fort Edward has more than 50 brownfields resulting from its industrial history, which included timber and paper industries.

The city of Auburn in Cayuga County will receive a $200,000 hazardous substances assessment grant and a $200,000 petroleum contamination assessment grant. To date, the city has identified 15 brownfields sites spanning 63 acres, and the assessment grants will help in identifying and assessing more properties for future cleanups.

The city of Ogdensburg in St. Lawrence County has been selected to receive a total of $1.2 million in cleanup and revolving loan funds. The $200,000 hazardous substances cleanup grant will be used to do work at the former Standard Shade Roller site at 541 Covington Street. The site was formerly used for manufacturing boats, matches, and shade rollers and the property is now contaminated with metals and volatile and semi-volatile compounds, which can cause respiratory, allergic, or immune effects in infants or children. Ogdensburg will also receive $1,000,000 in revolving loan fund grants for hazardous substances. The grant will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which the city will provide loans and sub-grants to support cleanup activities for sites contaminated by hazardous substances. The city expects to fund three loans and two sub-grants.

The city of Rochester in Monroe County will get $200,000 to do cleanup work at 62-64 Scio Street, the site of a former warehouse and storage unit that has been contaminated with petroleum product. When the site is cleaned up, the city plans to sell it to create additional production space. Cleanup and redevelopment of the site are expected to create about 10 new jobs and expand the tax base.

The city of Watertown in Jefferson County will receive a petroleum cleanup grant for $200,000 to start work at the Ogilvie site at 148 North Pleasant Street. The site was formerly used as a dairy processing plant and an evaporator processing plant to process whey. The property has petroleum storage tanks and the soil and ground water became contaminated when product spilled from one of the tanks. The grant funds will be used to remove contaminated soil and treat contaminated ground water at the site. Upon cleanup, the city plans to redevelop the property into residential housing.

Broome County was selected to receive a $131,666 brownfields cleanup grant for hazardous substances at the 312 Maple Street site in the Village of Endicott. From the 1920s until the 1990s, the site was used to manufacture shoes and circuit boards, store coal, and conduct metal finishing operations. The site is contaminated with trichloroethylene, a degreaser for metal parts that may cause nerve, kidney, and liver damage. Cleanup work will include treatment of contaminated ground water and excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil.

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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