EPA Announces $13.2M in Supplemental Brownfields Redevelopment Funding; Launches New e-Decision Tree for Siting Renewable Energy on Formerly Contaminated Sites

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 29, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced approximately $13.2 million in supplemental funding through the Revolving Loan Funding (RLF) program for 44 communities to cleanup and redevelop contaminated properties. The agency also has released a new electronic decision tree that helps users explore the feasibility of siting renewable energy projects on formerly contaminated properties and underutilized sites.

AGC routinely reports on brownfields funding as these grants typically signal areas where communities may see future development. (In the case of Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grants, see previous Observer article, grants can also identify sources for job training and recruitment in many fields of interest for general and specialty construction firms.) To cite an example from this funding announcement, grantee Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission will contribute $500,000 to cleanup a site that will then be used for mixed-use development with residential, hospitality, and restaurant space.

According to EPA, the RLF program provides supplemental funds “to communities that have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfields.” The funds serve as critical gap financing (loans and sub-grants) needed to jump-start the redevelopment process and the loans are eventually repaid to the fund and then re-loaned to other borrowers. EPA states that, to date, RLF grantees have completed over 400 cleanups, leveraging approximately 15,000 jobs and over $5 billion of public and private funding.

To see the full list of grantees, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/ (link is external). Also on EPA’s website are guidelines for submitting grant proposals. EPA is now accepting proposals for Fiscal Year 2016 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants funding (all due December 18, 2015).
To see the full list of grantees, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/ (link is external). Also on EPA’s website are guidelines for submitting grant proposals. EPA is now accepting proposals for Fiscal Year 2016 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants funding (all due December 18, 2015).

EPA also has developed a new tool to facilitate the siting of renewable energy projects on formerly contaminated properties (e.g., Superfund or Brownfield sites) and underutilized sites. EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative released an electronic decision (e-Decision) tree that walks users through the early stages of identifying whether a site is appropriate for the development of solar or wind energy.

According to EPA, the tool addresses the following types of sites:

Potentially Contaminated Sites (Superfund, Brownfield, RCRA, mine site)
Landfill (Municipal Solid Waste, Construction and Demolition or similar unit)
Underutilized (Abandoned parcels, parking lots)
Rooftop (Solar PV only; Commercial / Industrial roofs)
The tool is not intended to replace or substitute the need for a detailed site-specific assessment that would follow this kind of initial screening. For additional information, go to http://www2.epa.gov/re-powering/re-powerings-electronic-decision-tree (link is external) to download the tool and read supplemental information.

Five Superfund Sites Become Eligible for Federal Cleanup Funding and Seven Additional Sites Are Proposed for Consideration

In related news, EPA also has recently added five hazardous waste sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) and proposed adding seven additional sites to the list. According to EPA, only sites added to the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term permanent cleanup. Under the Superfund program, EPA searches for the parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites and holds those parties accountable for the costs of cleanups.

The following five sites have been added to the NPL:

Illinois – Estech General Chemical Company (pesticide manufacturer) in Calumet City, Ill.;
Louisiana – Colonial Creosote (wood treatment plant) in Bogalusa, La.;
Massachusetts – BJAT LLC (various industrial operations) in Franklin, Mass.;
Texas – Main Street Ground Water Plume (ground water plume) in Burnet, Texas.; and
Washington – Grain Handling Facility at Freeman (grain handling facility) in Freeman, Wash.
The following seven sites have been proposed for addition to the NPL:

Iowa – PCE Former Dry Cleaner (dry cleaner) in Atlantic, Iowa;
Illinois – Old American Zinc Plant (zinc smelter) in Fairmont City, Ill.;
Indiana – West Vermont Drinking Water Contamination (ground water plume) in Indianapolis, Ind.;
Louisiana – SBA Shipyard (barge construction and maintenance) in Jennings, La.;
Nebraska – Iowa-Nebraska Light & Power Co. (former manufactured gas plant) in Norfolk, Neb.;
New Jersey – Former Kil-Tone Company (pesticide manufacturer) in Vineland, N.J.; and
New Mexico – Lea and West Second Street (ground water plume) in Roswell, N.M.
For more information on the Superfund program, go to http://www2.epa.gov/superfund (link is external).

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