May 28, 2014

RI Receives $2.7 Million to Clean Up Brownfields

Delegation announces federal funds to help clean up contaminated land, create jobs, and protect public health

PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to protect public health and redevelop former industrial sites, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced over $2.7 million to help clean up brownfields in communities across the state. A brownfield site is property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Organizations in Pawtucket, Providence, and Westerly will receive these competitive brownfields awards.

The Brownfields Program, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfield sites.

“This federal funding will help local partners redevelop and restore these sites to productive use,” said Reed, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees federal funding for all EPA programs. In 2002, Reed helped pass legislation making this federal funding possible. “Not only will this federal investment help protect public health and the environment, but it will also allow communities to work in partnership to generate job growth, increase surrounding property values, and strengthen the local economy. Working together, we can revitalize these brownfields.”

“Cleaning up brownfield sites is good for our health, our environment, and our economy,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Brownfield program at the EPA. “These federal grants will support efforts in Providence, Pawtucket, and Westerly to redevelop contaminated properties – reducing the health risks to surrounding neighborhoods while also creating jobs, enabling future economic development, and increasing property values. I congratulate all of these communities for their efforts in securing these grants.”

“We all have a responsibility to ensure our communities are safe, healthy and economically prosperous,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, energy task force chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. “We are privileged here in Rhode Island to have fantastic and diverse groups working to improve the economic and environmental conditions within our state. Brownfield grants are an important tool in our revitalization efforts, providing funds to safely clean up industrial sites, so that they may be redeveloped for new purposes.”

“Transforming blighted, contaminated brownfields into vibrant, environmentally sound land boosts livability and Rhode Island’s economic prosperity,” said Cicilline. “With these federal funds, our state can continue its work toward creating healthier, environmentally sustainable neighborhoods that promote economic growth in otherwise empty and underused spaces.”

The following federal brownfield cleanup and redevelopment grants have been awarded:

60 King Street, Inc.: $200,000

Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up the former Imperial Knife Company facility at 60 King Street in Providence. The site operated as the headquarters for the Imperial Knife Company, a manufacturer of hunting and pocket knives. The site is contaminated with trichloroethylene.

I-195 Redevelopment District Commission: $200,000

Site-specific hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct a Phase II environmental site assessment and develop a cleanup plan for 26 acres of vacant land within the I-195 Redevelopment District in Providence. Since the 1950s, this land was used for elevated and non-elevated portions of Interstate 195 until the site was decommissioned during the last several years. Prior to that, the site was occupied by various industrial and manufacturing entities. Grant funds also will be used to support community outreach activities.

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM): $200,000

Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct four Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments.

Westerly: $200,000

Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to perform 10 Phase I and five Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community involvement activities, including development of a community relations plan to build capacity of the local community and involve it in the identification and prioritization of potential brownfield sites.

Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency: $700,000

The Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency will receive a brownfields revolving loan fund coalition grant. The grant will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities for sites contaminated with hazardous substances. Grant funds also will be used for program marketing and community outreach activities. The Redevelopment Agency’s coalition partner is the City of Central Falls.

Olneyville Housing Corporation: $411,685

Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up three sites in the Paragon Mills Complex in Providence: Lot 432/former filling station site at 148 Delaine Street, Lot 443/parking area at 31 Manton Avenue, and Lot 573/Mill Buildings at 39 Manton Avenue. The former textile mill complex dates from the 1890s through the early 1950s and has fallen into disrepair. The three cleanup sites are contaminated with semi-volatile organic compounds and metals.

Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation: $400,000

Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up Plat 6A–Lot 1 located at 30 Branch Street and Plat 6A–Lot 2 located at 41 Branch Street. Both sites were used for residential purposes from the late 1800s until the 1970s. The buildings have since been demolished, and the sites have been subject to illegal dumping and the overgrowth of invasive scrub vegetation. Contamination is believed to have come from residential heating systems, building debris, and other urban fill materials. Contaminants of concern include heavy metals and other hazardous substances. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities.

Providence Redevelopment Agency: $400,000

Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up Parcels A and B of the former American Tourister property located at 70 Houghton Street. Since 1876, the site was used to manufacture cotton and worsted wool clothes. The mill went through a variety of owners and eventually ended up as part of the American Tourister Company in 1978. After changing hands several more times in the 1990s, the mill became vacant. Contamination at the site includes heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921