The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Trenton, New Jersey will get nearly $2 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to clean up a former industrial site in Trenton, New Jersey while advancing environmental justice. This award is part of the largest ever funding awarded in the history of the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs, thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The City of Trenton will use the $1.99 million to clean up the former New Method Cleaners site located at 300-310 Prospect Street. In its over a century history, the site has been used for many industrial and commercial purposes. Most recently, a dry-cleaning business occupied the site. In 2013, EPA, in close partnership with the city and state, removed drums containing hazardous materials and conducted an investigation at the site under the Superfund removal program. While that removal work helped address some of the immediate risks posed by the site, there are still volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the soil and groundwater, which have prevented its use. Since 2015, the site has been vacant. The money announced today will allow Trenton to clean up the site in a process that will also include input from the community. The Trenton Journal was told during the press conference that demolition of the New Method Cleaners would take place within a month, but it may take “years” for the site to be remediated.
The press conference was attended by Mayor Gusciora, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, EPA Administrator, Lisa Garcia, NJDEP Commissioner, Shawn LaTourette, City Council President Teska Frisby, At-Large Councilwoman, Jasi Edwards, Commissioner Sam Frisby and community members.
“This month, we received approval from the Trenton City Council to demolish this brownfields site. We are so thankful to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Biden Administration for grant funding that will be utilized for the environmental remediation of this site,” said Mayor Reed Gusciora. “I am proud that we now have federal support that will breathe new life into this neighborhood, and, on behalf of the Capital City, we are so thankful for the EPA’s leadership and collaboration.”
There are over 100 brownfield sites in Trenton, New Jersey, 60 of which have been remediated and/or addressed to the extent necessary to be redeveloped. According to the EPA, a brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Trenton’s brownfields are scattered throughout the city, remnants of a bygone era when heavy industry played a central role in the local economy. These sites, such as former dry cleaners and gas stations are often contaminated with hazardous substances, pose risks to public health and the environment. They also act as barriers to the city’s progress, hindering potential economic development and community enhancement.
“ We have a brownfield job training program along the lines of environmental justice. Not only will we clean up sites, but we will make sure people have the skills to be able to work here and [provide] opportunities for city residents to assist in the cleanup,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Lisa Garcia. The deadline to apply for brownfield job training grants is August 2, 2023. Click here for more information.