Yesterday, May 11, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that four New Jersey entities have been selected to receive a total of $1.9 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program. Nationwide, 151 communities will receive 154 grant awards totaling $66.5 million in EPA Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup (MAC) Grants. The capital city of Trenton has been selected for funding under the program.

This funding will support underserved and economically disadvantaged communities across the country in assessing and cleaning up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Approximately 50 percent of selected recipients will be receiving EPA Brownfields Grant funding for the first time and more than 85 percent are located in or serving small communities.

“Cleaning up brownfields helps protect the environment and serves as a catalyst to jumpstart much needed economic growth in New Jersey communities, often in historically underserved areas,” said EPA acting Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan. “These grants address decades-old sources of pollution and bring together a broad spectrum of stakeholders who work in concert to make their communities better and more sustainable places to live, work and play.”

The City of Trenton has been granted a $300,000 assessment grant that will be used to conduct environmental site assessments and prepare four cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities. Trenton plans to prioritize former dry cleaner sites in the city, including Eagle Cleaning and Dyeing, Bell Boy Cleaners, Suds Brothers and Schofield Cleaners.

“On behalf of the City of Trenton, I am proud that we were selected to receive a Brownfields Hazardous Assessment Grant from EPA this year,” said Mayor W. Reed Gusciora. “We have an excellent relationship with EPA dating back to the 1990s, and thanks to EPA’s grant resources and technical assistance over the years, we’ve been able to investigate, remediate and redevelop numerous brownfields sites in Trenton. This $300,000 grant will help us continue that great work for the 84,000 residents who call this city home.”

Other entities selected for grant funding include Hainesport Township, which received $500,000 towards the clean up of the Former Paul’s Tank Cleaning Service site at 1225 Industrial Boulevard and to conduct community outreach activities; the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJDEA), which received a $300,000 assessment grant to conduct 10 environmental site assessments in Paterson, Perth Amboy and Bayonne, in addition to the development of two conceptual designs for the City of Bridgeton, prepare two cleanup plans and conduct community outreach activities; and the City of Salem, which received an $800,000 multipurpose grant to conduct six environmental site assessments and to clean up sites in the target area, prepare one site reuse vision and three reuse plans, and conduct community outreach activities.

“Hainesport Township is grateful to the EPA for being awarded this competitive grant,” stated Hainesport Mayor Leila Gilmore. “These funds will allow us to conduct an environmental cleanup of a defunct tank cleaning and storage facility, known locally as Paul’s Tank Farm. This remediation is critical to the economic development of this area and the many opportunities it will generate for the Hainesport community.”

“Revitalizing brownfields is crucial to achieving Governor Murphy’s environmental justice goals and building toward his vision for a stronger, fairer New Jersey,” said New Jersey Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “This grant funding will help us continue our work to help communities throughout New Jersey transform vacant, contaminated properties into vibrant community assets that improve residents’ lives and drive economic growth.”

Salem Mayor Charles Washington Jr., said, “The City has set forth a vision to redevelop Salem’s waterfront and the city’s BDA with economically sustainable green energy jobs. This is an exciting time for the City of Salem as we continue to set our sights on our redevelopment goals, and this opportunity from the EPA brings us closer.”

According to Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., the Brownfields program has been a crucial tool for cleaning up contaminated sites, protecting public health, and spurring local economic growth throughout the country – particularly in New Jersey, which has hundreds of these sites.

“The funding announced today will help revitalize these spaces so that they can be returned to good, productive use,” said Pallone Jr. “Removing public health hazards like those at Brownfields sites not only protects the health of nearby communities and families, but also spurs investment in the local economy by allowing these spaces to be transformed into parks, businesses, community centers, and more. I’m proud to have sponsored the reauthorization of the Brownfield program and glad to see the results of that work reach New Jersey, and I’ll make sure we continue to build on this progress in Congress.”

Included in yesterday’s grant announcement is $8.8 million for 11 Multipurpose Grants, which will provide funding to conduct a range of eligible assessment and cleanup activities at one or more brownfield sites in a target area; $42.2 million for 107 Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments and community outreach; and $15.5 million for 36 Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient. The list of the fiscal year 2021 applicants selected for funding is available HERE.

EPA anticipates that it will award the grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied by the selected recipients.

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.

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. After 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.

For more on the Brownfields Grants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-epa-brownfield-grant-funding. For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields