$2.6 million is available to clean up contaminated land, spur economic growth, and create jobs. DEM is encouraging proposals aiming to revitalize brownfield sites for new projects generating energy from green, renewable sources.
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced new funding opportunities to support the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties, known as brownfields, across the state. In all, more than $2.6 million is available. Funded projects will support a healthier environment and economy, create jobs, and promote renewable energy uses at these locations.
"Cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields sites benefits Rhode Island's environment, families, and economy," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "We're investing millions in improving our infrastructure and catalyzing economic growth through the brownfields program by opening up valuable real estate for redevelopment. With this round of funding, we're encouraging proposals that will convert revitalized brownfield sites into new projects generating energy from renewable resources, which will help meet our bold goals for Rhode Island to become a cleaner, greener state."
A Request for Proposals (RFP) opens today – with a deadline of June 29, 2018 – for a new round of matching grants under the State's Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Redevelopment of brownfields – which are vestiges of Rhode Island's industrial heritage and number in the thousands across the state – may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination.
This fund, created under the 2014 Clean Water, Open Space, and Healthy Communities Bond and supplemented with funds from the 2016 Green Economy Bond, helps communities and private organizations accelerate cleanup efforts and promote smart growth. In February, Governor Raimondo and DEM awarded $2.375 million in matching grants under the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Ten projects, spread across eight communities, received funding to clean up contaminated property and promote redevelopment. According to grantee estimates, the grants will leverage about $50 million in additional investment in these projects and support nearly 1,050 new jobs.
To date, $7.4 million has been awarded under the fund, supporting 33 projects in 12 communities. These grants, which leveraged over $630 million in other investment and support around 5,000 jobs, help build new schools (including the Woonsocket Middle School pictured previously), businesses, and homes throughout the state. Since 1995, nearly 800 brownfields sites have been cleaned up with assistance from DEM and its partners. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 7.3 jobs are supported per $100,000 spent on brownfields redevelopment.
"Transforming brownfields into cleaner, productive spaces benefits our state and families many times over," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We're proud of the success we've achieved by investing in the cleanup of these sites and, along with many partners, developing beautiful new schools, businesses, homes, solar farms, and parks in their place. We look forward to partnering with the successful applicants on this new grant opportunity."
Rhode Island's brownfields grant program, which covers 80 percent of a project's cost, provides needed resources for site preparation and redevelopment projects. Site preparation grants are available for properties that have been declared a brownfield based on previous site investigation work but lack an approved Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP). These grants can be used to fill gaps that exist in site investigation data and to develop and analyze actions necessary for an approved RAWP. Redevelopment grants are available for projects with completed and approved site investigations and an approved RAWP and Remedial Approval Letter or Order of Approval through DEM.
Emphasizing the Raimondo Administration's commitment to Rhode Island producing 10 times as much clean energy and 20,000 clean energy jobs by 2020, DEM is significantly increasing the emphasis in the green energy reuse option in the scoring criteria for this RFP.
Final proposals and supporting materials are due by 4 PM on Friday, June 29, 2018. Government, private, and community agencies are eligible to apply. Project selection will be determined on a competitive basis.
Brownfields Remediation Revolving Loan Fund The Brownfields Remediation Revolving Loan Fund, administered by Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (the Infrastructure Bank), provides long-term, low-cost financing to public and private businesses for the cleanup of sites with hazardous substances, excluding petroleum. In partnership with the Infrastructure Bank, DEM is soliciting projects on an ongoing basis. For more information, visit www.riib.org.
Targeted Brownfield Assessment Program The Targeted Brownfields Assessment (TBA) Program provides funding to municipalities and non-profits to help evaluate brownfields sites and costs associated with remediation. TBA applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Just submit the applicable sections of the combined funding application to DEM at any time.
How to Apply: DEM has a single application form for Site Cleanup Funding, available at www.dem.ri.gov/programs/wastemanagement/site-remediation under "Site Cleanup Funding Opportunities." This form can be used to apply for any of the above opportunities. Electronic applications are encouraged; however, proposals may also be mailed to the DEM Permit Application Center, 235 Promenade Street, Second Floor, Providence, RI 02908.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.