Officials highlight $7M in EPA grants for brownfield cleanup

0 10

LOWELL — U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan and officials from Lowell, Lawrence and Clinton gathered in front of Lowell City Hall Monday morning to highlight a total of $7 million in federal grant funding given to the three communities for the cleanup of brownfield sites.

The Environmental Protection Agency grants come from a $1.5 billion boost in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, nearly $35 million of which has been awarded for the cleanup of brownfield sites across Massachusetts.

“When these sites are cleaned up and ready for redevelopment, they are going to be shining examples of the transformative changes this legislation is making in each of our communities,” said Trahan.

Lowell will receive $5.5 million from the grant funding, $5 million of which will be used for the cleanup of 5.7 acres of the Beaver Brook site along the VFW Highway along the Merrimack River. The site is currently home to an abandoned single-story building, and the site is believed to have been contaminated to build a flood-control system. It is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, extractable petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals and coal ash.

The other $500,000 being given to Lowell will be used for assessment activities for the city’s JAM (Jackson/Appleton/Middlesex) Urban Renewal Plan Area and the Hamilton Canal Innovation District, primarily on the sites of former mills and manufacturing facilities in the area.

The investment in environmental cleanup, EPA Regional Administrator David Cash said, will be worth it.

“Cleaning up polluted sites, making them ready for redevelopment, creating new space for industrial, residential, or parks or bikeways,” said Cash.

In addition to the environmental impacts, Lowell Mayor Daniel Rourke said that having these areas cleaned up for redevelopment could also help bring more businesses into the city.

“These grants will contribute to revitalizing and reusing previously contaminated properties in the city of Lowell, promoting economic development and job creation,” said Rourke.

Clinton received $500,000 from the $7 million allocation, which will be used for the cleanup of the Rockbestos-Surprenant Cable Corp. facility at 172 Sterling St.

The site had operated as a mill until the early 20th century before being converted into a wire manufacturing facility, which operated until 2006. The unoccupied property is contaminated with petroleum, heavy metals, chlorinated solvents and inorganic contaminants. Clinton Town Administrator Michael Ward said the previous owner of the property had abandoned it, leaving behind contaminants that “impeded redevelopment.”

“This 8.4-acre site is positioned at one of the gateways entering our community, and has become such a blighted property that we decided we had to do something, so we took the property through tax title,” said Ward.

Ward said the cost for the town to clean up the property had been “prohibitive,” but the EPA grant funding will finally allow the town to do something.

“We believe the receipt of these grant awards will be a truly impactful step for the success of making this project happen,” said Ward.

The city of Lawrence will receive $1 million, which will be used for the assessment and cleanup of the area around the former Lawrence Manchester Rail Corridor, which is slated to be redeveloped into a rail trail.

In a statement on the funding to the state, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey called the grants “vital funding” for the cleanup of pollutants in the environment around us.

“This historic investment will bring cleaner water, land and air to communities across the Commonwealth and deliver and more livable future with green spaces to live, work and play,” Markey said.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who voted along with Markey and Trahan to send the infrastructure bill to President Joe Biden’s desk, called the grant funding “a great win for our environment.”

“I’m over the moon that we’ll be able to invest in our communities, create jobs and clean up sites across the Commonwealth with this funding,” said Warren. “This is a great win for our environment, our communities, and our kids who are going to reap the benefits for generations to come.”

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.