By Stefanie Jackson – Northampton County has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist property owners in assessing if there are any environmental issues on their property prior to a sale – also called a brownfields grant.
What is a brownfield? The EPA defines a brownfield as a property that could be expanded, reused, or redeveloped but may be complicated by the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
Brownfields are often located in urban areas with large commercial or industrial sites, but brownfields can be found in rural areas as well. Small-scale examples of brownfield sites include abandoned gas stations and dry cleaners.
This is the second time Northampton County has received a $300,000 EPA grant for brownfields assessments, bringing the total funds received to $600,000.
County Administrator Charlie Kolakowski said in a May 26 email, “The new grant will likewise be used to assess properties throughout the County and we will be looking to partner with the incorporated Towns to encourage redevelopment efforts.
“Having an assessment done will often enable an owner to identify any environmental issues the property may have and often it helps determine there are indeed no environmental issues. Removing the element of doubt concerning environmental concerns is usually helpful in the redevelopment process.”
Dixon Leatherbury, chairman of the Northampton board of supervisors, received a letter earlier this month from David Lloyd, director of the EPA’s office of brownfields and land revitalization, congratulating Northampton on its “outstanding” grant application.
Lloyd wrote, “Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has worked to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfield sites. We fully expect that these brownfield projects will provide benefits to the environment and economy of local communities.”