The City of Austin Brownfields Program has been selected to receive two Environmental Protection Agency grants totaling $300,000. These awards will provide funding for site assessments and cleanup planning for land that may contain environmental contamination, known as brownfields.
Austin Resource Recovery’s Brownfields Revitalization Office will focus environmental contamination testing in Austin’s Eastern Crescent where past zoning restrictions allowed industrial facilities such as power plants, fuel tank farms and cement plants to operate resulting in hundreds of brownfield sites today. Site assessments, clean-up and redevelopment of vacant or underutilized properties will allow for transformation of these areas to productive reuse.
“Every dollar towards brownfields clean-up in the Eastern Crescent gives back $16 in jobs and economic opportunities for the community. These new EPA grants will finally address environmental justice while providing economic equity for that area of town," said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
Austin Brownfields Office provides assessments of existing infrastructure, clearing a path towards development of affordable housing projects with nearby parks, gardens and small businesses. Ultimately, the City will reduce the disproportionate concentration of contaminated sites in East Austin.
“The true goal of brownfield redevelopment is to ensure sustainability and livability by identifying sites that can be redeveloped into community-serving assets,” said Christine Whitney, Austin Brownfields Program Manager.
The EPA defines brownfields as particular parcels of land that may have environmental contamination from prior uses (known or unknown) or where contamination migrated onto the property from offsite activities. Brownfields may have hazardous materials such as lead-based paint or asbestos-containing materials that need to be removed from the site before redevelopment.
For more information about brownfields assistance or to sign up for email updates about the City’s Brownfields Program, visit www.austintexas.gov/brownfields.