EPA grants $600,000 to Anchorage for contaminated sites

Anchorage will receive $600,000 dollars from the federal government to study pollution at almost a dozen sites around the city. The Environmental Protection Agency picked the municipality as one of 149 communities across the country to receive Brownfields grants. The program is designed to clean up contaminated properties in order to help spur economic development.

The money coming to Anchorage from the EPA is for preliminary assessment. It’s meant to help groups with the early phases of study to figure out if a piece of property is polluted by hazardous substances or petroleum. The grant funds will go toward examining 10 sites in Anchorage. First, to research if they might have been contaminated at some point in the past, and if so, how bad the contamination is.

“It’s important that we establish the extent of contaminants on a property, and the phase two assessments help to do that,” said Shelly Rowton, project manager for the grants in Anchorage.

Some of the money will also be used to draft clean up plans for six sites, and redevelopment strategies for two of the parcels.

The areas picked for study are broad, and include the eastern section of Downtown, Ship Creek, Fairview, Spenard, Mountain View, Chugiak and Eagle River.

“Some of those are areas targeted by Planning and the Assembly for redevelopment, revitalization,” Rowton said. “Some of them would come as the result of our coalition partners needing assistance in those areas.

The specific parcels have not yet been selected for study and testing.

The municipality worked closely with Eklutna Inc. and the Anchorage Community Development Authority to successfully apply for the EPA grants.