EPA Provides $500,000 to Green Brownfields

EPA Provides $500,000 to Green Brownfields

Projects to redevelop a former California lumber mill, build a solar plant on an old Texas landfill and salvage recyclables from two mothballed textile mills in Alabama are among 16 nationwide to share more than $500,000 in technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's program to green brownfields.

Assistance to the projects selected as EPA's Brownfields Sustainability Pilots will help support reuse and recycling of construction and demolition materials, green building and infrastructure design, energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy development and native landscaping.

"Brownfields redevelopment and sustainable reuse can go hand in hand," said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "These pilots will demonstrate best practices that can be used by other communities across the country."

Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

The 16 program participants are receiving $20,000 to $50,000 in assistance from the EPA, which will work with the community or organization in charge of each site "to incorporate sustainable redevelopment into the planning, design, and implementation of their brownfields projects," the agency said.

The projects include plans to convert a former 171-acre lumber mill and sash factory on the Samoa Peninsula in Humboldt County, Calif., to a green mixed-use commercial, residential and recreational development that also helps preserve the historic character of the area. The county wants to incorporate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Neighborhood Development Principles in the project, and the EPA's $50,000 in assistance will help support green design and eco-friendly standards sought for the redevelopment.

In Houston, the city wants to build a solar plant on a former 300-acre landfill. The EPA is providing $50,000 in assistance for analysis of the environmental, engineering and energy issues associated with the project.

And in Valley, Ala., the city seeks a new use for the former Langdale and Riverdale mills. Built in the 19th century, the mills operated from 1860 to 1990 and were the economic powerhouses for the region for more than one hundred years. The EPA's $25,000 will go toward sustainability planning and an inventory of materials that can be reused or recycled from the plants.

Other projects include the conversion of an abandoned gas station in Oregon into a community center with transitional housing and expanded office space built from old cargo containers, creation of a rooftop garden in a challenged urban area in Oklahoma and redevelopment of a former smelter property in Colorado.