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Feds give $800k for enviro cleanup plans

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Feds give $800k for enviro cleanup plans

Tucson and Pima County will each receive $400,000 grants from the Environmental Protection Agency to assess environmentally-contaminated sites that could be redeveloped.

There are 5200 "brownfields" in Tucson, including former gas stations, dry cleaners, shuttered industrial facilities and other vacant structures.

The city will use the EPA funds to assess the downtown area, where a disproportionate number of Tucson's brownfields are located, according to a press release from Rep. Raúl Grijalva.

The county will examine sites in Ajo, Why and Lukeville.

The grants will be used to assess the risks to redevelopment posed by contamination from petroleum and other hazardous substances in each survey area.

"Urban renewal is a complex process that has to include environmental planning," Grijalva said in the release. "This is the first step on a necessary journey to a better, cleaner Tucson and Pima County."

"Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight and takes development pressure off more pristine areas," Grijalva said. "We need to know what opportunities exist on land that isn't being put to good use, and these funds will allow us to do that."

The grants were awarded by the EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

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