R.I. receives $3.1M from EPA for brownfield projects

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island will receive $3.1 million in Environmental Protection Agency funding for brownfield projects, the EPA announced Monday.

The agency will give the R.I. Department of Environmental Management $2 million for the assessment of properties throughout the state under the agency’s Brownfields Program and the city of Woonsocket will receive two additional EPA grants: $500,000 for communitywide assessment work and $650,000 for cleanup work at the Dorado property.

A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant, according to the EPA.

“DEM is ecstatic to receive this $2 million EPA grant, which will allow us to continue to help communities throughout Rhode Island conduct assessments of brownfield sites and transform these blighted spaces into neighborhoods that are healthy, sustainable and reflective of the people who call them home,” Terry Gray, acting director of the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, said in a statement. “We are grateful that EPA is committed to funding our work to clean up and restore sites in overburdened communities across our state.”

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The Rhode Island awards are among 227 communities nationwide to receive grant awards totaling $147.5 million in EPA Brownfields funding through its Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant programs.

Combined with an additional $107 million in supplemental funding to 39 existing Revolving Loan Fund grant recipients, $179.3 million of this round of EPA funding comes from the $1.5 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Securing a Brownfields grant is the first step to putting vacant, polluted lots back to productive use. This federal funding from our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will breathe new life into neighborhoods across the state,” U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said in a statement.