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EPA and City of Plainfield Use Brownfields Grants to Strengthen Community

Release Date: 01/25/2010
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662,

(New York, NY) With the help of $1 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfields grants, including funding through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, Plainfield, NJ has been able to conduct extensive assessments of the contamination at various brownfields sites and is proceeding with an investigation and cleanup at a former dry cleaner slated for future redevelopment. Today, Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator, was joined by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. and Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs to highlight assessment and planned cleanup efforts at the Lee Place property, the site of the dry cleaner. EPA brownfields grants address properties at which expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Plainfield has plans to turn the Lee Place site, once cleaned, into affordable housing for community members.

“The Lee Place site highlights the core principle of EPA’s Brownfields Program,” said Ms. Enck. “The brownfields funding provided by EPA has helped empower Plainfield to achieve its goal of turning contaminated sites like Lee Place into safe and useful properties to support projects like the affordable housing planned for this parcel of land. These types of projects benefit the environment, the economy and the quality of life for the entire community.”

The Lee Place site is a vacant one-half acre parcel of land that was home to a dry cleaning plant from the 1940s through the 1990s. Soil and ground water at the site are contaminated with perchloroethylene, semi-volatile compounds, and petroleum products.

In 2005, EPA selected Plainfield to be the recipient of two grants worth $200,000 each for assessment work at brownfields sites throughout the city, and some of that funding went towards assessing the Lee Place site. In 2009, Plainfield was again selected to receive a combined total of $400,000 to complete further assessments of contamination at additional brownfields sites contaminated by hazardous substances and petroleum products. A portion of the most recent assessment grants will go towards further assessment work at Lee Place, which is currently underway. Last year, Plainfield was also a recipient of $200,000 in Recovery Act funding to ensure that once assessment work is complete at Lee Place, a comprehensive cleanup of the property is carried out.

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program, go to:

On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Recovery Act is an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, and create or save millions of jobs. For more information about Recovery Act funds awarded through EPA, visit