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Release Date: 03/12/1999
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded $200,000 to Nashua, New Hampshire, as part of a national commitment to revitalize abandoned sites where redevelopment has been slowed because of contamination on the property. EPA calls these sites "brownfields."

"What were once considered stumbling blocks to redevelopment are now building blocks," said EPA's New England administrator John P. DeVillars. "Here in New Hampshire, we are proving that environmental protection and sustainable economic development go hand in hand."

Nasua officials identified 33 contaminated industrial properties adjacent to the city's $36.5 million Broad Street Parkway development project. The brownfields grant will be used to define the nature and extent of contamination at as many as ten of these properties and to develop strategies for their eventual cleanup and reuse.

Brownfields are abandoned pieces of land -- usually in inner city areas or surrounding communities -- that are lightly contaminated from previous industrial use. These sites do not qualify as Superfund toxic waste National Priority sites because they do not pose a serious public health risk to the community. However, because of the stigma of contamination and legal barriers to redevelopment, businesses do not buy the land and sites often remain roped off, unproductive and vacant.

Since 1995, EPA has granted hundreds of brownfields grants of up to $200,000 each. The program brings together people who live near contaminated land, businesses that want to get land cleaned up, community leaders, investors, lenders and developers. Together, they seek ways to restore abandoned sites to new uses -- increasing property values, stimulating tax revenues, creating jobs and job training opportunities, and revitalizing inner-city neighborhoods.