South Carolina is getting $658,000 in federal money to assess and clean up old industrial sites, known as “brownfields.”
The Department of Health and Environmental Control said it will use the money to continue to identify and clean former industrial sites so the property can be reused. The grant funds the first year of a projected five-year project period.
“Primarily it’s going towards their overhead costs: personnel, facilities and so on,” EPA Brownfields Program Region IV office physical scientist Brian Gross said. “This is an item that comes down and goes to the states each and every year to operate and maintain their established program that they have.”
The payment is scheduled by Congress and granted to states and tribes for brownfields, superfund sites and other cleanup programs.
“The main one that we typically work with is voluntary cleanups which is designed to encourage owners and developers to address environmental issues and properties that are kind of in limbo and we’re looking to bring those sites back into productive reuse,” Gross said.
A brownfield is an abandoned or blighted property that is out of use, underdeveloped or undeveloped, limited by contamination or perception of contamination at the site, Gross explained. Brownfields include former filling stations, dry cleaners or closed commercial and industrial facilities. Once the cleanup is completed, the property may have deed restrictions on its use.
“Ideally the cleanup will be done under the oversight of South Carolina and then the site will be basically granted a certificate that it’s ready for reuse. They call it a certificate of completion,” he said.
Gross said there are 71 sites in South Carolina enrolled in the voluntary state response program.