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Tennessee Receives EPA Brownfields Grants

Release Date: 06/15/2004
Contact Information: Laura Niles, (404) 562-8353,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has awarded Brownfields grants to four communities in Tennessee to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use. The four Tennessee communities will receive a combined amount of approximately $1,500,000 in Brownfields grants for cleanup or assessment of the sites.

Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In January 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for Brownfields grants. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what's considered a Brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.

The four communities receiving grants in Tennessee include:

Cookeville, Tennessee Brownfields Assessment Grant $200,000

Cookeville's grant funds will be used to conduct a city-wide inventory of potential brownfields, perform assessments and remediation planning at two automobile salvage facilities, conduct community outreach, and prepare an economic development study.

Knox County, Tennessee Brownfields Assessment Grant $200,000

Grant funds will be used to perform investigations and develop cleanup plans for two sites along the I-275 business corridor in north Knoxville. Grant funds will also be used to conduct health risk assessments during and after redevelopment.

Lenoir City, Tennessee Brownfields Assessment Grant $200,000

Lenoir City will use the grant funds to assess a former rail car maintenance facility near the Tennessee River. Planned activities include surveying the site, conducting geotechnical and soil sampling, performing a risk assessment, and developing a concept plan for the site.

Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, Nashville, Tennessee Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants $900,000

Hazardous substances grant funds and petroleum grant funds will both be used to conduct assessments at priority brownfields sites in the Riverfront area of Nashville. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities.

Cleanup grant funds will be used to plan and conduct remedial activities at the former Nashville Metropolitan General Hospital site in the Rolling Mill Hill revitalization area, also will be used for cleanup planning and community outreach activities.

In all, 219 applicants, including five tribal nations, were selected to receive 265 grants. The $75.4 million will provide:

    • 155 assessment grants totaling $37.6 million to be used to conduct planning for eventual cleanup at one or more Brownfield sites or as part of a community-wide effort.
    • 92 cleanup grants totaling $16.9 million to provide funding for grant recipients to carry out cleanup activities at Brownfield sites they own.
    • 18 revolving loan fund grants totaling $20.9 million to provide funding for communities to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at Brownfields sites. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low or zero interest loans for Brownfields cleanups.
In March, 16 communities received job training grants totaling $2.47 million to teach environmental-cleanup job skills to 1,080 individuals living in low-income areas near Brownfields sites. To date, more than 60 percent of people completing Brownfields training programs have obtained employment in the environmental field with an average hourly wage of $12.84.

The Brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 554 assessment grants totaling over $150 million,171 revolving loan fund grants totaling over $145 million, and 66 cleanup grants totaling $11.4 million.

In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, Brownfields approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, and rail corridors to recreational trails. EPA's Brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $5.8 billion in private investment, helped create more than 27,000 jobs and resulted in the assessment of more than 4,500 properties.

For more information on the grant recipients, go to: