EPA Selects Four Connecticut Entities to Receive $1.6 Million for Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that four grantees in the state of Connecticut have been selected to receive $1.6 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program. These funds will support under-served and economically disadvantaged communities around the state in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. The Connecticut grant award announcements are among 151 communities across the nation to receive 154 grant awards totaling $66.5 million in Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grants.
“Through our Brownfields Program, EPA is delivering on the Biden Administration’s commitment to lifting up and protecting overburdened communities across America, especially communities that have experienced long periods of disinvestment and decay,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These assessment and cleanup grants will not only support economic growth and job creation, but they will also empower communities to address the environmental, public health, and social issues associated with contaminated land.”
“These new EPA Brownfields funds are more important than ever, because the ongoing pandemic has impacted the economy and redevelopment throughout New England,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. “Today’s investment of EPA Brownfields assessment and cleanup funding provides a much-needed boost for economic development and job creation in many of New England’s hardest hit and underserved communities.”
EPA intends to award Brownfields grants to the following groups for sites in Connecticut:
Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, Waterbury, Conn.: This group, who has received nine previous such grants, will be awarded a $300,000 Assessment Grant to continue their current Brownfields site assessment program. The EPA Brownfields community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental site assessments and prepare cleanup plans. The target area for this grant is the two-mile Waterbury Brownfields Corridor. Priority sites may include the former Anamet brass mill and the Former Waterbury Button Company in the city’s South End and a former brass rolling mill located in the city’s freight district. Grant funds also will be used to develop reuse plans and conduct community engagement activities, such as public meetings where information will be provided to the community in both English and Spanish.
“New assessment funding from the EPA is a key investment in the Naugatuck Valley Region. With these dollars, we are able to continue our comprehensive Brownfields Program that identifies and prepares sites for eventual clean-up using public and private funding. This effort is of direct importance to both our neighborhoods and our business community as we continue to revitalize and turn around our historic mills, creating an asset for the 21st-century,” said Rick Dunne, Executive Director of the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.
New Britain, Conn.: The City of New Britain, who has received two previous such grants, will be awarded a $300,000 Assessment Grant. The EPA Brownfields community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental site assessments as well as to prepare site reuse and cleanup plans. The target area is the region’s bus rapid transit CT Fastrak corridor that connects New Britain to Hartford. Three priority sites—the Israel Putnam Elementary School, the St. Thomas Aquinas High School, and the Burritt Bank site—have been identified so far within the target area. Grant funds will also be used to support community engagement activities, such as conducting community meetings.
“The City of New Britain is 98% developed, so redevelopment projects often involve renovating or replacing old buildings. It would be challenging to make redevelopment happen in New Britain without Brownfields money, so we are thankful for this grant as we continue to beautify our city,” said New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart.
Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, Norwalk, Conn.: This group, who has received two previous such grants, will be awarded a $500,000 Cleanup Grant to clean up the South Norwalk (SoNo) Train Station site located at 30 Monroe Street. The cleanup site, which currently serves as a parking lot for the SoNo Train Station, originally housed the South Norwalk Electric Works facility and was later developed into the Norwalk and South Norwalk rail station. The property is currently contaminated with heavy metals, petroleum, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Grant funds will also be used to support community engagement activities, such as conducting public meetings.
“The support from the EPA strengthens our efforts to revitalize the area, improve property values, and spur economic growth. I am thankful to the EPA for this support which will allow us to move forward on this much-needed remediation project,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling.
Riverfront Recapture, Inc., Hartford and Windsor, Conn.: This group, who is a first-time recipient, is being awarded a $500,000 Cleanup Grant to clean up several contiguous riverfront land parcels located on Leibert Road in the City of Hartford and Meadow Road in the Town of Windsor. The cleanup parcels were formerly used for farming, commercial truck parking, railroad construction equipment storage, and mining and processing of sand, silt, and clay. The properties are currently contaminated with pesticides and other hazardous substances. Grant funds will also be used to support community outreach activities, such as conducting public meetings.
“We are extremely grateful to the EPA for their support of our new park, regional trail connection, and commercial development in Hartford and Windsor. Riverfront Recapture’s plan for remediation and redevelopment represents a transformational investment in the environment, urban green space, and multimodal transportation that will drive economic development and improve community health in the underserved neighborhoods surrounding the project,” said Michael Zaleski, President & CEO of Riverfront Recapture.
EPA’s Brownfields grants and assistance to Connecticut this year are among other significant annual investments by EPA to help New England communities to address brownfield properties. Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding a total of $8.1 million for 18 communities to assess or clean contaminated brownfields sites.
“This much needed funding highlights the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to correcting the mistakes of the past while investing in our collective future. These awards assist our communities in protecting the health of residents and incentivizing economic growth and development. I am proud to support these grants and will continue fighting for future funding for Connecticut,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.
“I want to thank the EPA for continuing to be a partner in Connecticut’s efforts to safely revitalize our communities and provide a boost to our economy. This much needed funding will go a long way to help communities redevelop these abandoned spaces and turn them into new housing, businesses and more. I’ll continue working with our Congressional delegation to keep these wins coming,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
“Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley have a multitude of sites that will benefit from the EPA’s Brownfields Program. This investment in assessment funding will bring several of those sites one step closer to redevelopment. The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments has a proven record of leveraging this funding to its fullest potential, and I cannot thank them enough for their outstanding work. As Chair of the Appropriations Committee, I am committed to continuing investments like these that address public health and environmental concerns and support economic growth across Connecticut,” said U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.
“Our communities should have never been cut off from the riverfront. The environmental injustice caused by the highway planning mistakes of the past prevents so many residents from accessing and enjoying the Connecticut River. Riverfront Recapture has done an incredible job reconnecting us to the river. This grant will help them continue that mission and spur economic development in Hartford’s North End at the border of Windsor,” said U.S. Congressman John Larson.
“Metro-North is the vital artery that connects our state and region. Safely increasing capacity at South Norwalk Station is crucial for growing our local economy and attracting new residents. As commuters begin to return to public transit, this timely grant will allow us to begin cleaning up and making the best use out of the available land. I’m pleased to see federal dollars coming back to the district to boost Norwalk’s, and the entire state’s, economic development,” said U.S. Congressman Jim Himes.
“I am pleased that Waterbury and New Britain will receive EPA funds to help remediate Brownfields. Ensuring federal dollars make their way back to Connecticut for this type of work continues to be a top priority for me. I will continue to work with the EPA, the State of Connecticut and Mayors O’Leary and Stewart to assist in these efforts,” said U.S. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.
“DEEP is proud to continue to work with EPA, and with cities, towns, private developers and non-profit organizations to facilitate redevelopment of brownfields in large and small communities across Connecticut,” Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “These EPA grants will help turn brownfields that pose an environmental and economic burden into assets that make these communities better places to live, work and play, and help Connecticut continue to grow its economy. EPA’s brownfield grants are often the first money that is invested in the redevelopment of long-abandoned contaminated properties. EPA’s investment in brownfields is a down payment that unlocks additional investment by the state and by private developers. DEEP greatly appreciates EPA’s continuing commitment to brownfields redevelopment in Connecticut. Competition for EPA’s brownfields is intense across the country and DEEP wishes to congratulate the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, the City of New Britain, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency and Riverfront Recapture for their success in this year’s EPA brownfields grant competition.”
In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded $123 million in assessment grant funding, $112 million in revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding and $82 million in cleanup grant funding. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $3.78 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for over 22,846 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has provided nearly $1.76 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example,
To date, communities participating in the Brownfields Program have been able to attract more than $34.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding after receiving Brownfields funds. This has led to over 175,500 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment.
Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.13 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15.2% as a result of cleanup activities.
Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States. EPAs Brownfields program has proven time and again that investing in properties like these unlocks their potential to improve the environmental, economic, and social fabric of communities.
Brownfields in New England: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-land-revitalization-region-1
The list of the fiscal year 2021 applicants selected for funding is available here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2021-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants
EPA anticipates that it will award the grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied by the selected recipients.
Basic Information on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
Types of EPA Brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-epa-brownfield-grant-funding