WILMINGTON – The Clinton County Port Authority and the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission received word this week that the Port Authority has received a $200,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).
“This type of grant enables communities to inventory, characterize and assess properties and then craft a plan for the eventual remediation of the identified properties,” said Port Authority Executive Director Daniel Evers. “This program, and these funds, are available to be used for properties throughout Clinton County.”
The US EPA defines a brownfield as “A property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Cumulative, the US EPA Brownfields programs have assisted in the repositioning of nearly 60,000 acres of land now available for redevelopment.
In the application process, the Port Authority and the Regional Planning Commission presented a plan involving community meetings, evaluation and assessment activities as well as identification of certain properties that might benefit from the grant-funded assessment. The award of the grant will enable those plans to be formalized. Community outreach and notification will be forthcoming.
“This program provides an excellent opportunity to better understand the extent of the environmental challenges some properties in the community are currently facing and we are excited to partner with the Port Authority on this project,” said Taylor Stuckert, Executive Director of the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission.
The Port Authority and the Regional Planning Commission will be partnering with consulting engineering firm SME. An RFP process completed last year resulted in the selection of SME as the project consultant. SME has a breadth of environmental, geotechnical and construction services and has helped leverage over $150 million in funding and incentives for Brownfield redevelopment projects.
According to SME, successful brownfield redevelopment begins with the right kind of up-front environmental due diligence, which focuses not only on liability management, but also identifying environmental and constructability issues that will impact development, and developing strategies for addressing them. After further assessing the environmental challenges for a redevelopment project, the firm works with the project team to develop the optimum cleanup and exposure mitigation approaches, consistent with federal and state regulatory programs and project goals and design, to make the project economically feasible.
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization has a number of grants available specifically dedicated to assisting communities in need of help with moving along a brownfields project, whether dealing with assessment, clean up, or redevelopment. This grant opportunity will reimburse costs associated with the creation of a county-wide list of potential brownfield sites voluntarily submitted by the property owners, as part of the review process.
It is anticipated that grant funds will enable approximately six properties to be assessed with a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). The results of a Phase I ESA will determine if a Phase II ESA is necessary. If necessary, Phase II ESAs will also be completed to identify environmental issues in soil, groundwater or soil vapor. Finally, cleanup and risk mitigation plans can be developed to address any issue discovered on the property.