City Wins New Grant to Continue Brownfields Program
Wauwatosa is awarded another $200,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in ongoing effort to identify, research and assess properties known or suspected to be contaminated by former uses.
Wauwatosa has again won a federal grant to address brownfields, properties contaminated by former uses.
The city had concluded an earlier brownfields grant program to identify and begin assessment of properties known or suspected to be contaminated. The grant helped the city use graphical information system (GIS) technology to map and begin developing a database of brownfield sites.
Now, Wauwatosa has received another $200,000 through the Community-Wide Brownfields Assessment Grant program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).
The grant was one of only 15 USEPA Brownfield grant awards awarded to seven applicants in Wisconsin, according to city Development Director Paulette Enders.
The USEPA awarded 15 grants, totaling $4.2 million, to eight groups across the state. The funding is part of the EPA’s annual Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup competitive grant program. A total of $69.3 million was awarded nationwide.
In Wauwatosa, grant funds will be used to update the new GIS database and perform Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments on properties it identifies.
Grant funds will also be used to prepare cleanup plans, conduct community involvement activities and conduct area-wide planning in target redevelopment corridors.
“This is exciting news for the city,” Enders said in a statement. “Given the scarce grant funds available, the award is a vote of confidence from USEPA that the City of Wauwatosa has successfully administered and expended its 2009 Brownfield Assessment Grants.
Enders said that Wauwatosa was the only former municipal grant recipient in Wisconsin that received new funding this during this round.
Developers are leery of large former industrial sites that are typically suspect of being contaminated, and nasty surprises also lurk on smaller commercial properties that once held operations such as gas stations, garages and, notoriously, dry cleaners.
Former owners who caused the problems can be held responsible for cleanup costs if they can be identified, located and if they still have any means to pay – which is often not the case.
Brownfields also sometimes present public health hazards, and assessment can either reassure or warn the public of such conditions.
Wauwatosa's database, when fully developed, will include property histories, current conditions and legal status, making remediation planning and redevelopment possible.
"The site assessment need remains high throughout the community," Enders said, "and the funding will go a long way in redeveloping commercial and industrial sites throughout Wauwatosa.”
Symbiont Science, Engineering and Construction Inc. of Milwaukee was hired by the city to assist in the application for and implementation of USEPA grants.