EPA announces $18 million in brownfield grants

Chicago Construction News staff writer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced $17.8 million in grants to assess and clean up brownfield sites across Illinois. Funding through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup and Revolving Loan Fund grant programs will help transform once-polluted, vacant, and abandoned properties into community assets, while helping to create good jobs and spur economic revitalization in overburdened communities.

“Far too many communities across America have suffered the harmful economic and health consequences of living near polluted brownfield sites. I’ve long believed that people who’ve borne the burden of pollution should be the first to see the benefits of new investment,” said President Joe Biden. “We are making that a reality by ensuring the historic resources from my Investing in America agenda reach communities that need it most.

EPA selected seven communities to receive grants totaling $9.9 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the multipurpose, assessment, and cleanup grant program. Another $8 million will go to three existing, high-performing brownfields revolving loan fund grant programs to help expedite their continued work at sites Illinois.

The following organizations in Illinois have been selected to receive EPA Brownfields funding through the multipurpose, assessment, and cleanup grant program:

  • Chicago Southwest Development Corporation – $2 million to clean up the former Washburne Trade School facility. The 10.8-acre site is now vacant and contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds and metals.
  • City of Decatur – $500,000 to conduct 12 Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments. Priority sites include three former gas stations, the 21.5-acre former Prairie Farms Manufacturing campus, and the 9-acre former Tire One fuel transfer station and distribution center.
  • City of Mendota – $1.3 million to clean up the Former Campbell Cleaners property. The southern parcel was used as a steam laundry and dry cleaners, and the northern parcel was used for farm implementation sales and service as well as an automotive parts retailer. The site is current vacant and contaminated with volatile organic compounds and metals.
  • Moving Pillsbury Forward – $2.7 million to clean up part of the Former Pillsbury Plant in Springfield. The 18-acre complex was formerly used for large-scale grain milling, manufacturing, and warehousing operations from approximately 1929 to 2001. It has since fallen into disrepair and several buildings have been demolished. The site is contaminated with inorganic contaminants and metals. Grant funds also will be used to develop fact sheets, provide website updates, and conduct public meetings.
  • North Central Illinois Council of Governments  – $1.5 million to prioritize and inventory brownfield sites and conduct 28 Phase I and 15 Phase II environmental site assessments..
  • City of South Beloit – $1.5 million to clean up the former Mannino property. The 1.7-acre cleanup site was historically used as a filling station, restaurant, and auto repair facility between 1959 and 2014..
  • Tri-County Regional Planning Commission – $500,000 to conduct 15 Phase I and eight Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to for cleanup and reuse planning and conducting community engagement activities. The target area for this grant is the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission’s service area including Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties.

Learn about this year’s cleanup grant selectees: FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Also, $7.95 million in non-competitive supplemental funding will go to:

  • Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund – $950,000 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Potential projects include remediation of sites in Maywood, Chicago Heights, and Calumet City.
  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund – $3.5 million for sites located in Springfield, North Chicago, and Waukegan. The BIL funding will extend the capacity of the program to provide funding for more cleanups in the most underserved areas in the state.
  • City of Rockford Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund – $3.5 million for the Colman Yards redevelopment and the South Main Street railyards area.

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program, visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.

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