EPA director tours Springfield projects impacted by Brownfields program

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 11:47 AM CDT
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The director of the Environmental Protection Agency stopped in Springfield Friday to hear the successes of community projects supported through the EPA’s Brownfields program.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Regional EPA administrator Jim Gulliford toured the West Meadows. The city used more than $2 million in Brownfields funding, along with a 20% cost share, to clean up the contaminated soil on the 18 acre site that once was a rail yard.

City staff hosted a tour of Brownfields redevelopment sites in Springfield on Thursday too. They stopped at the History Museum on the square. A Brownfields grant funded lead paint and asbestos removal in the building. They toured the Fairbanks Community Center, spending about $230,000 to remove contaminates.

And the Brownfields funding is not always for large projects. The Sherman Avenue Project Committee, a non-profit organization working to provide affordable housing, used grant funding to remove things like lead paint, asbestos and contaminated soil from some older homes. Homeowners can also get zero or low interest loans from the EPA to clean up contaminants in homes.

“We’ve used our Brownfields program to help make sure that they are safe, healthy and clean by abating lead paint, asbestos, mold and any kind of contaminant,” Olivia Hough, city of Springfield senior planner and Brownfields coordinator.

The city of Springfield says it has now used every toolbox in the Brownfields program, including a free job training program for those going into environmental fields.

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