The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $3.9 million in new funding to Salt Lake County to clean up and redevelop contaminated properties.
“We’re grateful for the EPA’s substantial investment in Salt Lake County. It expands our ability to effectively leverage the Revolving Loan Fund and make a difference,” Mayor Jenny Wilson said.
The EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund allows the County and its coalition partners – Salt Lake City and Ogden City – to issue loans to public or private property owners who meet EPA qualifications for assistance with brownfields.
Brownfields are properties with contamination that hinder development or redevelopment. Common examples are old auto repair shops, dry cleaners, and properties near old smelters, railroad lines, and mines.
“With our community’s history of industrial and mining work, there’s no shortage of properties that could use this EPA money for cleanup efforts,” said Kersten Swinyard, program manager for the Wasatch Brownfields Coalition and Salt Lake County senior economic development manager. “We’ll use this money to accelerate redevelopment on those contaminated properties and make our cities safer and cleaner for everyone.”
The funds are expected to assist at least 10 properties in the next 3-5 years, many of which are in former industrial areas that need significant clean-up to be safely redeveloped. Loans are low- to zero-interest for terms between two and five years.
“This award will set up Salt Lake County to further environmental justice in our underserved communities for years to come,” Wilson said. “All our neighborhoods deserve to live in healthy environments with the promise of an equitable economic future.”
Centro Civico Mexicano is one recipient that wrapped up its project in 2021. By working with the County, Centro Civico Mexicano received funds to remove asbestos, mercury, hydrocarbons, and other contaminants in the soil. The remediated property now features a community center and 61 apartments for low-income seniors. The cleanup led to more than $25.2 million in leveraged redevelopment funding on the project.
The coalition works closely with the EPA and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) throughout clean-up processes. The EPA has awarded $5,850,000 in total to Salt Lake County throughout its program history.