Grays Harbor projects receive $600,000 for local cleanup assessments

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that they have selected the Grays Harbor Council of Governments for two brownfields environmental site assessment grants totaling $600,000.

The grants, applied for in December, will allow local cities to assess “up to 15 brownfields sites as an initial step towards cleaning up and redeveloping vacant and underutilized properties, transforming them into an asset for both the community and the local economy while protecting public health and the environment.”

A brownfield site is land that is left after an industrial facility is gone, possibly containing leftover chemicals in the soil. This grant funding will go towards studies on this land before it is developed.

“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”

GHCOG was selected for $300,000 in grants to be used to conduct environmental site assessments and prepare three cleanup plans for sites with possible hazardous substances.

In addition, $300,000 in grant funding to conduct the same tasks at sites with potential petroleum contamination.

Grant funds may also be used to create up to two area-wide plans.

Local assessments will focus on sites in Abe4deen, Cosmopolis, and Hoquiam.

Within the cities, the EPA says that preliminary research has identified over 1,000 vacant or underutilized brownfield parcels in the target areas.

“Prolonged decline in the logging and fishing industries has led to an abundance of distressed or underutilized properties in the economic hub of Grays Harbor County,” said Vicki Cummings, Executive Director of the Grays County Council of Governments. “EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant funding is critical to supporting our ongoing revitalization initiatives in the key commercial, industrial, downtown, waterfront, and historic districts of Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmopolis.”

Grays Harbor is one of 172 communities selected nationally for new brownfields assessment and cleanup funding in 2017. Across the country, $56.8 million in funding will be granted.

For more information about Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grants: www.epa.gov/brownfields

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