Grant will fund inventory, planning and community engagement related to brownfield sites
WHITMAN COUNTY – The Port of Whitman County has received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify and assess brownfield properties throughout Whitman County in partnership with interested property owners and communities.
The EPA defines a brownfield as a property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.
The EPA Community-wide Assessment Grant Program has a performance period of up to four years and provides funding for communities beginning to address their brownfield challenges. The Port’s initial steps will include convening a Brownfields Advisory Committee, engaging with interested property owners, conducting public outreach and identifying candidate sites.
Then, the grant program will provide funding for the Port to conduct Phase I environmental site assessments (ESAs) on nine properties and Phase II ESAs on five properties. Finally, cleanup plans will be developed for three properties and reuse plans will be created for two key sites. The Port’s grant application listed Colfax, Rosalia and LaCrosse as potential target areas; however, final site selection will be made between interested property owners and the Port and guided by public input at each phase.
“We are excited to work alongside EPA and our rural Whitman County communities to create a plan for identifying and revitalizing brownfield sites across the Palouse,” said Port Executive Director Kara Riebold. “EPA’s Brownfields Grant Program is a tremendous opportunity to improve both the health of our environment and economy in Whitman County.”
The project builds off the Port’s previous efforts to identify potential brownfield sites in Whitman County. In 2022, the Port utilized a $10,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology to create an interactive knowledge base of known and potential brownfield sites across the County. As the Port learns of additional brownfield sites, the knowledge base can be edited and expanded.
About the EPA Brownfields Program
EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.
About the Port of Whitman County
The Port of Whitman County is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all citizens of Whitman County through industrial real estate development, preservation of multi-modal transportation, facilitation of economic development and provision of on-water recreational opportunities.