EPA visits Erie to celebrate, highlight historic investment of $5.5 million in Brownfields grants to be used throughout the county

ERIE (May 30, 2024) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz joined Erie County Redevelopment Authority President Tina Mengine, Erie Mayor Joe Schember, and Erie County Executive Brenton Davis to celebrate the $5.5 million in grants that have been selected for the area.

EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz speaks at a podium.
EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz speaks at a podium.

Last week, EPA Administrator Regan announced a total grant package for $300 million in Brownfields grants that would soon be awarded across the country; two of those grants are coming to Erie through a $5 million clean-up grant and $500,000 assessment grant.

“EPA is honored to play a role in the remarkable revitalization of this city,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Erie will be cleaner and safer, its corridors more vibrant and prosperous, and its economy stronger than ever.”

“These grants are truly transformative for our community.  They will allow us to finish the work we started on two major bighted industrial properties and to begin the critical work necessary at Erie Coke,” said Tina Mengine, President of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority. “We are very grateful for the support of the EPA and of Administrator Ortiz and his team, who have been on this journey with us every step of the way.”

“We are especially thankful to the EPA for their support in recognizing the importance of this work and providing this crucial funding to enable ECRDA to continue to cleanup and redevelop these sites,” said Erie Mayor Joe Schember. “Thanks to this significant grant from the EPA, we are taking another step on the journey to ensure that future generations of Erieites can live in a community free from pollution and contamination.”

Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the $5 million cleanup grant will be used to clean up the Former Erie Malleable Iron Site and Former Quin-T Site in the City of Erie. The former Quin-T facility manufactured asbestos products, including roofing, building, and automotive materials from the mid-1800s until the early 2000s and is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals. The EMI Site is a former iron foundry and manufacturing facility that also operated as an electronics parts facility until the early 2000s and has been vacant since closure. It is contaminated with tetrachloroethene, trichloroethene, and PCBs. PCE has also been identified in groundwater. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities.

The second award, a $500,000 assessment grant, will be used to update and maintain a site inventory, prioritize sites, and conduct environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop cleanup plans and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will occur throughout Erie County with a focus on the Cities of Erie and Corry and the Boroughs of Lake City and Union City. Priority sites include a former coke facility, two vacant industrial sites, and two former office spaces.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. Prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program made approximately $60 million available each year. Thanks to the President’s historic investments in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA has now increased that yearly investment nearly 400 percent. More than half of the funding available for this grant cycle (approximately $160 million) comes from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This investment has also allowed the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) grants’ maximum award amounts to increase significantly from $500,000 to a new maximum of $5 million per award for cleanup grants. 

Today’s celebration is also part of a larger effort, a “Lake Erie Road Trip,” in which Ortiz and the Regional Administrators from the two neighboring EPA regions are traveling this week through cities along Lake Erie, highlighting and celebrating reinvestment, revitalization, and reinvigoration. Ortiz is joined by Regional Administrators Debra Shore and Lisa Garcia, making stops in Cleveland, Ashtabula, Erie, and Buffalo. Prior to the celebration, EPA leaders visited Presque Isle State Park and discussed remediation and revitalization efforts along the Bayfront with local partners.

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields program, please visit: www.epa.gov/brownfields.

Photo of inside the Former Erie Malleable Iron building.
Photo of inside the Former Erie Malleable Iron building.
EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz at a podium with Tina Mengine, President of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority.
EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz at a podium with Tina Mengine, President of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority.

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https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-visits-erie-celebrate-highlight-historic-investment-55-million-brownfields-grants

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