PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Brownfields are former businesses or industrial sites that may be contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, or other contaminants that can complicate the redevelopment of the sites. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) distributes Brownfield Grants to help with brownfield cleanups and revitalization efforts.

Pennsylvania will receive $7.3 million of Brownfield Grant funds recently awarded by the EPA, according to a press release from the EPA. The grants are supported by President Biden’s infrastructure plan, which provides funds to support environmental justice, economic revitalization, and job creation by cleaning up brownfield properties.

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“The funding provided to Pennsylvania communities is part of a dedicated nationwide effort to transform contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive properties that provide new jobs and opportunities,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz in the press release.

“EPA’s Brownfields grants not only provide funding to assess and clean up contaminated properties, but they help rejuvenate local communities and overcome economic, environmental, public health, and social issues associated with brownfields,” Ortiz said.

Brownfield projects can include cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination, for example, or assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties where dangerous chemicals were managed.

After they are cleaned up, former brownfield properties can be turned into grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, parks, solar farms, and more, the EPA says.

Pennsylvania Brownfield Grant recipients include:

  • $300,000 to the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority to conduct site assessments
  • $500,000 to the Erie County Industrial Development Authority to conduct site assessments
  • $1 million to the Greene County Industrial Development Authority to conduct site assessments and clean up a former coal mine, processing plant, and loading facility including a rail yard
  • $500,000 to Hazelton to conduct site assessments and conduct community engagement activities
  • $1 million to Montgomery County to provide loans and grants for cleanups
  • $3 million to Northampton County to provide loans and grants for cleanups
  • $500,000 to the Oil Region Alliance of Business Industry and Tourism to conduct site assessments and prepare reuse plans
  • $500,000 to the Penn-Northwest Business Development Corporation to conduct site assessments and prepare cleanup and reuse plans

In all, the EPA recently awarded $254.5 million in Brownfield Grants to 256 communities around the U.S., according to the release from the EPA. Approximately 86% of these communities awarded funding have proposed projects to revitalize historically underserved areas, the EPA says.

“We’re turning blight into might for communities across America. EPA’s Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the release. “We are significantly ramping up our investments in communities, with the bulk of our funding going to places that have been overburdened and underserved for far too long.”

More information about other grant recipients can be found here. There is more information on the Brownfields programs on the EPA’s website.