close
close

$1 Million in New Funding Will Help Two Utah Cities – Desert News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it is giving $1 million to a pair of Utah cities struggling to revive polluted areas within their borders.

Such an injection of money will help rid these areas of toxins that are harmful to public health and make these areas inaccessible to new development.

“EPA Brownfields Grants support critical cleanup and redevelopment projects in Utah,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “Today’s funding will help community leaders in Murray and Spanish Fork address pollution in soil, water and outdoor spaces and create new businesses, housing and recreational opportunities.”

The money will be split evenly between Spanish Fork and Murray for evaluation.

How will Spanish Fork use the money

Spanish Fork will use EPA Brownfields funding to assess environmental contamination at two priority sites in the city, the Express Way Landfill and the Foundry.

“This grant also gives the city the opportunity to plan for the redevelopment of underutilized and industrially used areas,” said Mayor Mike Mendenhall. “I thank the EPA for their grant funding and continued support as we work to make Spanish Fork a great place to live and work.”

The Express Way Landfill is located on a 40-acre site consisting of 13 parcels combined into one landfill. Previous research at the site has shown elevated concentrations of metals such as lead, arsenic and chromium in the soil and benzene and arsenic in the groundwater, as well as landfill gases. EPA Brownfields grant funding will assist with further site investigation and cleanup planning to understand the environmental impacts that prevent the property from being redeveloped.

EPA funding will also be used to assess the Foundry site, located in the Spanish Fork Industrial Park. Founded in 1884, the foundry manufactured iron and brass castings using hazardous chemicals including volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and semi-volatile compounds. To determine whether the location is safe for redevelopment, a site assessment is necessary.

Spanish Fork will use the funds to explore these centrally located Brownfields sites and create opportunities for development, including affordable housing and new commercial spaces. Revitalizing these spaces will increase local employment, generate tax revenue and provide services to the community.

The help for Murray

Murray will use the EPA Brownfields funding to assess two priority sites in the Murray Central Business District: the Creek Pocket Park and the Soccer Locker.

The Creek Pocket Park is a vacant residential lot located near the historic Murray Smelters, providing a vital link between the east and west sides of the city. EPA Brownfields funding will be used to assess contaminants of concern on the site, including lead, asbestos, arsenic, cadmium and other heavy metals.

After assessment and cleanup planning, the city plans to purchase this property and develop it into a “pocket park” as part of the pedestrian walkway along the creek. This will support flood mitigation plans and support residents’ safe travel through the central corridor.

EPA funding will also assess contaminants at the Soccer Locker, a 2.78-acre site located along the Little Cottonwood Creek. Previous investigations of the property have shown high levels of arsenic and other metals, believed to be slag and mining waste.

The city plans to develop the Soccer Locker into affordable housing and mixed-use commercial buildings to improve employment and quality of life for residents. Assessment of this site will revitalize a blighted property into a space that will alleviate housing burdens and food deserts in the area.

EPA, Utah and pollution cleanup

Over the years, the federal agency has worked with Utah officials to remediate once-contaminated sites to give them a chance at viability and stimulate the economy.

In 2009, Ogden City collected $400,000 for an area from Wall Avenue to I-15 and from 21st Street to 30th Street – brownfields to be assessed for contamination by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Under EPA’s definition, brownfields are real properties hampered by redevelopment or reuse because of the potential for potential contaminants — from arsenic-laced boilers in buildings to underground storage tanks that may be leaking gas, diesel fuel or heating oil.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse.