At least twenty-two new sites will benefit from $1 billion in funding from a program designed to remediate hazardous waste sites, such as landfills, mines and manufacturing facilities, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Friday.
The EPA also said part of the funds will be used to expedite the cleanup of 100 ongoing projects across the United States. The new $1 billion is the second tranche of $3.5 billion in funding appropriated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which President Joe Biden signed into law in 2021.
Originally created in 1980, the Superfund program enables the EPA to repurpose unusable land for new economic development.
“We’re continuing to build on this momentum to ensure that communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination finally get the investments and protections they deserve,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan was quoted as saying in a statement.
According to the EPA, 60% of the new cleanup sites that have been identified using the EPA’s EJSCREEN mapping tool are in low-income or minority communities that are chronically overpolluted. Some of the areas that will benefit from the funding include a water contamination site in Indiana that needs cleaning up, an old General Motors foundry in New York state and a landfill in Virginia.
Also, a project to remediate lead across a residential neighbourhood in the Atlanta area with a legacy of pollution will get about $50 million in funding after the area had waited for years to access federal funds.
The EPA started 81 new cleanup projects last year, including projects at 44 sites on the Superfund backlog list, with the funding available through the infrastructure bill. The agency also added 12 sites last fall to the Superfund National Priorities List, a special designation under the program for deeply contaminated sites.
With remediation, the sites can be turned into parks, green spaces, office parks or warehouses.
Story was adapted from Reuters.