FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  June 2, 2014

Union County Awarded $600,000 For Brownfields Assessment

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that Union County has been awarded two federal grants totaling $600,000 to assess brownfield sites in seven Union County municipalities. The grants are from the U.S. EPA Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) fund.

“These two grants will help give our communities an opportunity to put abandoned industrial and commercial properties back into circulation, where they can create new jobs, enable future growth and make positive contributions to our economy and our quality of life,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak. “I want to thank our municipal partners for contributing to a successful grant application process.”

Union County formed a coalition with the Union County Alliance and the Boroughs of Garwood and Roselle and the Cities of Elizabeth, Linden, Plainfield, and Rahway to apply for the grants last year.

“Brownfields have become critical resources in Union County,” said Union County Alliance president and executive director Geoff Perselay. “This grant award will help make it possible to reclaim land for economic development to accommodate existing population densities and future population growth throughout Union County.”

Both of the grants come under the EPA Brownfields Hazardous Substances and Petroleum Assessment program. The funds will be used to conduct environmental assessments, and to support cleanup and community outreach in the seven Union County municipalities designated as coalition partners.

“This much-needed federal funding will make a big difference in our efforts to keep Union County moving forward,” says Freeholder, Christopher Hudak. “We are grateful to have the support of Senator Booker and Senator Menendez, towards initiatives that will stimulate economic growth, while protecting public health and the environment.”

A brownfield site is land that was once used for industrial purposes or some commercial uses that is idle or underused because of real or perceived environmental pollution. Often the land is contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once the site has been reclaimed through EPA regulated protocols.

In 1999, Jersey Gardens – the largest outlet mall in New Jersey – opened on land that was once a Brownfield. To date, Jersey Gardens marks the most ambitious New Jersey Brownfield remediation project, turning the former landfill into land suitable for retail use.

A more recent example of reclamation is Snyder Avenue Park in Berkeley Heights. This popular multi-use County park opened in 2010, on land that was once an abandoned fuel depot.

With funding from a prior US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment grant, the County was able to prepare a Brownfield Inventory in December 1999, based on the NJDEP known contaminated sites list and confirmed via a windshield survey. The Brownfield community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct 12 Phase I and five Phase II environmental site assessments. Petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct 12 Phase I and seven Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds of both types also will be used to inventory sites and support cleanup planning and community outreach activities.

The Brownfields grant application was prepared by Brownfield Redevelopment Solutions based in Manasquan, NJ.

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For more information on any Union County press release, please contact Sebastian D’Elia, Communications Director for the County of Union, or a designee listed at the top of this press release. Please join the County of Union online at www.ucnj.org, on Facebook at www.ucnj.org/facebook, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/countyofunionnj.