The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it will assign $600,000 to help the community of Villalba asses and clean up abandoned and contaminated sites.
The funding was awarded through EPA’s Brownfields Program, which helps communities assess, clean up, redevelop, and reuse contaminated properties. Brownfields are properties where moderate contamination threatens environmental quality and public health and can interfere with productive re-use of the sites.
“Cleaning up brownfields is a great way to clean up contaminated properties, protect public health and create jobs in Puerto Rico,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator.
“Brownfields cleanups and the reuse of formerly contaminated properties improve the lives of those who live and work in these communities,” she said. “The EPA looks forward to working with Villalba to get these sites assessed so that they can be remediated and put back into productive use.”
The Municipality of Villalba will receive $400,000 to conduct about 18 initial and 18 follow-up environmental site assessments at sites potentially contaminated with hazardous substances. The municipality will also received $200,000 in funds to conduct 12 initial assessments and 10 follow-up assessments of sites potentially contaminated with petroleum. The funds will also be used to support outreach to the community.
“This is the second coalition of municipalities in Puerto Rico to receive funding from EPA’s Brownfields Program” said José C. Font, director of the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division. “This is a remarkable example of how collaboration efforts are essential to obtain resources for environmental restoration which in turn lead to economic redevelopment and job creation”
The EPA has announced a total of more than $62.5 million in new investments across the country that will redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and help create jobs while protecting public health.