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EPA awards $200,000 to Merced in Brownfields Grant

Release Date: 5/10/2005
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415.947.4149

SAN FRANCISCO -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $200,000 to the Merced Redevelopment Agency to assess human health risks and support community outreach activities in a one block area of downtown.

Nationally, the EPA awarded 302 grants totaling $75.9 million today as part of the agency’s Brownfields program, which provides funding to clean up and redevelop contaminated properties.

“Funding for brownfields projects will allow communities to revitalize properties that have been sitting idle far too long,” said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office. “The program yields positive results by bringing new life to the under used properties in communities.”

The Merced Redevelopment Agency will use the funding to conduct a site investigation and prepare a health risk assessment for a one block area of downtown that contains vacant land and older development. The area formerly housed a dry cleaning facility and a gas station, and is thought to have had significant perchloroethylene contamination and hydrocarbon pollution. Redevelopment will address human health risks that affect low-income residents, create jobs, revitalize the economy and remove environmental uncertainty.

“The Brownfields Program puts both property and people back to work,” EPA Administrator Steve Johnson said. “These grants will help communities across America convert eyesores into engines of economic rebirth.”

The Brownfields program promotes redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since its inception in 1995, the program has awarded 709 assessment grants totaling over $190 million, 189 revolving loan fund grants worth more than $165 million, and $26.8 million for 150 cleanup grants.

In addition to facilitating industrial and commercial redevelopment, Brownfields projects have converted industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas station sites to housing. The program 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.

For more information on the grant recipients, go to: