EPA Awards Chattanooga $4.9 Million to Clean Up Polluted Sites

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New funding includes $500,000 for brownfield assessments, $500,000 for cleanup, and $3.9 million in revolving loan funds to help renew and revitalize contaminated properties

Chattanooga, Tenn. (July 6, 2022) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Chattanooga $4.9 million in funding to tackle brownfields in the city, helping turn contaminated sites into productive economic opportunities. 

The funds consist of two $500,000 grants — one for analysis, one for cleanup — and $3.9 million for Chattanooga’s Revolving Loan Fund, which offers low interest loans for cleanup of brownfield sites. 

The funding will help revitalize polluted properties throughout the city, many of which were once industrial sites that contributed to Chattanooga’s 1960s-era reputation as the “Dirtiest City in America,” and return them to productive use to create homes and jobs. 

“It’s expensive and time-consuming to correct the mistakes of the past that led to parts of our city becoming virtually unusable, but thanks to the tremendous support from the EPA, I’m confident that we’ll be able to work toward turning more of these eyesores into healthy properties that generate economic growth for our community,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. 

The $500,000 assessment grant will be used to develop an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct environmental assessments, which help determine remediation needs based on planned redevelopment. Priority sites for the funding include the R.L. Stowe Mercerizing Mill, the U.S. Pipe and Wheland Foundry site, and a former 9.7-acre quarry. 

The $500,000 cleanup grant will be used to clean up the abandoned rail corridor — the site of a future greenway — at 3225 Broad Street, and to support community engagement activities, such as community meetings, to get input on cleanup work plans. 

The $4.9 million is supported by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted, or hazardous brownfield properties.