IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 25, 2023
City of Milwaukee Awarded Federal Funding for Brownfield Remediation and Redevelopment
“This new funding will deploy additional testing and clean-up support at brownfields and historically-contaminated properties in our community.”
MILWAUKEE – On Thursday, May 25, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) was awarded $5.5 million in federal funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Milwaukee that will spur redevelopment efforts and advance environmental justice. EPA selected six communities in Wisconsin to receive this federal funding that will boost economic growth, support environmental remediation efforts, and build stronger neighborhoods.
“For years, the City of Milwaukee’s strong partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency has delivered critical federal funding for brownfield remediation and redevelopment in our neighborhoods,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “This new funding will deploy additional testing and clean-up support at brownfields and historically-contaminated properties in our community. Thank you to President Joe Biden and the EPA for their commitment and investment in Milwaukee’s future.”
RACM will receive a $2 million grant funded by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up a former industrial property at 3940 N. 35th St. The 13.7-acre site was historically used for several industrial purposes which include disposal of an industrial waste solution containing iron and sulfuric acid, also known as pickle liquor, into multiple lagoons; housing numerous aboveground storage tanks including three 60,000-gallon propane tanks, two 30,000-gallon propane tanks and a 500,000-gallon fuel oil tank; storing automobile frames and loading products onto rail cars. The vacant site is contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. Grant funds will also support community engagement activities including community meetings with virtual options.
RACM will also receive a $500,000 community-wide grant to conduct 20 Phase I and ten Phase II environmental site assessments. Funds will also be used to prepare five cleanup plans and to support community outreach activities. The city is targeting the 25 census tracts that make up the 30th Street Industrial Corridor.
In addition, RACM’s Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) has been selected to receive an additional $3 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law because it has a high-performing RLF program with significantly depleted funds. The RLF program has successfully made loans or subgrants leading to 15 cleanup projects that are either completed or underway. The funding will extend the program’s capacity to provide funding for more cleanups in the Milwaukee’s most underserved areas.
“We’re working across the country to revitalize what were once dangerous and polluted sites in overburdened communities into more sustainable and environmentally just places that serve as community assets. Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we’re moving further and faster than ever before to clean up contaminated sites, spur economic redevelopment, and deliver relief that so many communities have been waiting for,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This critical wave of investments is the largest in Brownfields history and will accelerate our work to protect the people and the planet by transforming what was once blight into might.”
“Given the Midwest’s rich industrial history, it’s no surprise that Wisconsin has a significant portion of EPA’s funded brownfields sites,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Thanks to the historic brownfields investment announced today, more communities will get the financial help they need to transform abandoned, blighted properties into assets that attract business and community development.”
“I voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fix our nation’s infrastructure, create good paying jobs, and build a cleaner, safer, and more resilient environment for the next generation. This funding will allow communities across Wisconsin to address legacy pollution that prevents these sites from being redeveloped into affordable housing, new businesses, or green spaces,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. “By cleaning up legacy pollution, we can attract businesses to invest in and develop these sites, increase the tax base for cities like Milwaukee, spur job creation, and revitalize our neighborhoods.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is transforming brownfields into areas of growth and promise,” said U.S. Representative Gwen Moore. “I am so proud to support these investments in Milwaukee, which will support healthier communities and lift up the well-being of my constituents.”
RACM has received multiple grants from the EPA to support brownfield assessment, remediation and redevelopment. Milwaukee’s successful brownfield redevelopment program is made possible with ongoing support of the EPA. Learn more at www.milwaukee.gov/RACM.
EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, nearly 260,000 jobs. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.