Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA Awards $1 Million to Redevelop Brownfields throughout Allegheny County

Release Date: 9/27/2005
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

BLAWNOX, Pa. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded $1 million to Allegheny County and the Riverside Center for Innovation to assess, cleanup and redevelop abandoned industrial sites into community assets throughout Allegheny County.

“Transforming brownfields to productive use brings enormous benefits to local communities. Every dollar of federal money spent on brownfields leverages about $2.50 in private investment, and every acre of brownfields that is restored saves more than 4.5 acres of green space,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA regional administrator for the mid-Atlantic states.

Of the $1 million in EPA funding, the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County is receiving $600,000: $200,000 of this amount will be used to conduct community outreach activities, inventory and rank sites and perform environmental site assessments; $200,000 will be used to conduct similar activities for up to eight sites that may be contaminated with petroleum, and $200,000 will complete cleanup of the former Firth Sterling steel plant in McKeesport, a 13-acre site along the Monongahela River that is plagued by environmental issues.

We have taken the initiative to clean up our brownfields, in an effort to not only spur development but also to revitalize our more distressed communities, said Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato. This EPA funding will jumpstart our environmental clean up process and expedite future redevelopment efforts.

Riverside Center for Innovation, a municipal business development center located in the North Shore area of Pittsburgh, is receiving $400,000. This includes $200,000 to conduct community outreach, inventory and rank sites, perform hazardous site assessments and develop cleanup plans for seven municipalities in Allegheny County. The remaining $200,000 will be used for similar activities for up to six sites that may be contaminated with petroleum.

“While the Riverside Center for Innovation is receiving EPA brownfield funds, the true beneficiaries are the seven municipalities that comprise the Allegheny River Town Enterprise Zone,” said Emily Buka, who directs the Riverside Center for Innovation. “This federal funding makes it possible to revitalize sites in our area to assure future growth and economic well being.”

Both Allegheny County and the Riverside Center will focus their petroleum and hazardous waste assessments in the Allegheny River Towns Enterprise Zone, or “ARTEZ,” and throughout the county, where the end of the industrial age in these communities left economic and physical obstacles from which they have yet to recover, saddling them with dwindling and underemployed populations and abandoned, unusable and contaminated lands.

In addition to these community-wide efforts, the $200,000 that will be used to complete the Firth Sterling clean up project will also help to leverage $2 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, $1 million from Allegheny County, and $800,000 from Housing & Urban Development. Redevelopment of the property is expected to create 500 industrial jobs and generate $17 million in investment for the City of McKeesport.

EPA has awarded communities in 44 states more than $75 million in EPA brownfields grants this year alone to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites.

Since its inception in 1995, EPA's brownfield redevelopment program has awarded 709 assessment grants totaling $190 million, 189 revolving loan fund grants worth more than $165 million, and $26.8 million to clean up 150 sites.

Nationwide, EPA's brownfields assistance has led to more than $7 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 31,000 jobs, and resulted in the assessment of more than 5,100 properties.