Maui News

EPA Awards Kauaʻi $300,000 in Brownfields Funding To Clean Up Old Sugar Mill Site

May 11, 2021, 3:06 PM HST
* Updated May 11, 3:07 PM
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The old Kekaha Sugar Mill on Kauaʻi. Photo Courtesy: Historic Hawaii Foundation


Kauaʻi County will receive $300,000 in revitalization funding through the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup (MAC) Grants.

Kauaʻi County will use the funds to focus on the Town of Kekaha, which includes an old sugar mill and herbicide mixing area. The project will inventory brownfield properties; assess properties for potential contamination; develop a cleanup plan; and engage the local community.

Nationwide, 151 communities will receive 154 of these grant awards totaling $66.5 million. It’s the first time Kaua’i County has received a Brownfields grant.

This funding supports underserved and economically disadvantaged communities across the country in assessing and cleaning up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

Nationally, approximately 50% of selected recipients will be receiving EPA Brownfields Grant funding for the first time and more than 85% are located in or serving small communities.

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“Through our Brownfields Program, EPA is delivering on the Biden Administration’s commitment to lifting up and protecting overburdened communities across America, especially communities that have experienced long periods of disinvestment and decay,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said. “These assessment and cleanup grants will not only support economic growth and job creation, but they will also empower communities to address the environmental, public health and social issues associated with contaminated land.”

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The list of the fiscal year 2021 applicants selected for funding is available here.

EPA anticipates that it will award the grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied by the selected recipients.

Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has provided nearly $1.76 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example,

  • To date, communities participating in the Brownfields Program have been able to attract more than $34.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding after receiving Brownfields funds. This has led to more than 175,500 jobs in cleanup, construction and redevelopment.
  • Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.13 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
  • In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15.2% as a result of cleanup activities.
  • Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.
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For more on the Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding.

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields.

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