BATON ROUGE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the award of a $2 million grant to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to go toward Brownfields assessments. Additional Brownfields assessment grants in the amount of $500,000 each were awarded to the city of Baton Rouge/East Baton Rouge Parish, Regional Planning Commission (St. Bernard Parish Commercial Corridor). EPA also announced $2 million in funding for the South Central Planning and Development Commission in Houma on behalf of the Brownfields Coalition Revolving Loan Fund.

“We are grateful for these grants which will help bring more contaminated properties back into use through assessments and cleanups,” said LDEQ Secretary Dr. Chuck Carr Brown. “By targeting blighted and underserved areas, Brownfields projects put effort and resources where they are most needed.”

The community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 50 Phase I and 30 Phase II environmental site assessments. The funding will also go toward the development of 25 cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. Target areas benefitting from the grant will be the city of Pineville, the Shreveport Common neighborhood in the Shreveport, and the city of Eunice’s downtown district. Priority sites include a 618-acre hospital complex and closed gas stations, historic buildings, former dry cleaners, and former industrial sites throughout all three target areas.

“I want to acknowledge the work of all our Brownfields staff and especially our Statewide Brownfields Coordinator, Rebecca Otte. They have logged a lot of hours putting together grant proposals and working with local governments to achieve this good outcome,” said Roger Gingles, LDEQ Assistant Secretary for Assessment.

A $500,000 Brownfields assessment grant will also be awarded to the city of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 10 Phase I and 12 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds will also be used to develop three cleanup plans and support community outreach activities in the Mid-City and Scotlandville neighborhoods and the Plank Road corridor – all communities with environmental justice concerns. Priority sites include a former auto repair facility, an 8-acre site where chemical drums were stored, cleaned out, and repainted, and a former filling station.

The Regional Planning Commission will also be awarded a $500,000 Brownfields assessment grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 15 Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments. Funding will also go toward developing five cleanup plans, one reuse plan, and one area-wide plan, and to support community outreach activities. The grant will target the St. Bernard Parish Commercial Corridor, with priority sites to include a 27-acre old Ford motor plant along the Mississippi River waterfront, a 48-acre former industrial business park, a former wastewater treatment plant, and a once-thriving shopping center and housing complex.

EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.