U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney announced Thursday that a total of $600,000 in brownfield-cleanup grants have been made available to clean up sites in New London and Willimantic.
Courtney, D-2nd District, said the Renaissance City Development Association in New London will get $400,000 to clean up hazardous materials at one site at the corner of Howard and Shaw streets and another at Howard and Hamilton streets.
The Willimantic Whitewater Partnership won a $200,000 grant to clean up the former Quidnick-Windham Manufacturing Co. site on Bridge Street, he added.
Both grants came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"By assisting the clean-up of these sites, EPA is playing a critical role in rehabilitating neighborhoods and fostering economic growth," Courtney said in a statement. "This is an excellent example of a targeted investment creating new opportunities in our communities."
Over the years, 15 to 16 feet of fill was dumped on land between Shaw and Howard streets in New London, and businesses prospered. There was a barrel-cleaning factory, two bottling plants, a gas station and a couple of junkyards, according to Martin Brogie, a licensed environmental professional who conducted an environmental assessment of the vacant land last year.
Today, the 5.4 acres — cleared more than 10 years ago and owned by the former New London Development Corp., now called the Renaissance City Development Association — is contaminated and needs remediation. Brogie told the City Council last fall that there is too much contaminated soil to dig up, and that about 2 feet of fill is needed to cap the property and seal in containments. The land can never be used for recreational or residential projects, he said.
At the time, Brogie told the City Council that the remediation project could cost $1.2 million.
The city received a $200,000 grant last year from the EPA through the agency's Brownfields Assessment Program to conduct the environmental assessment. The property is part of the 90-acre Fort Trumbull Development Plan and is zoned commercial for offices or research and development space.
The second property, at the intersection of Bank and Howard streets, is owned by the city and has been vacant for more than 40 years.
In March, Klewin Development LLC was granted prime developer status for the 3.23-acre lot. The developer wants to build about 30,000 square feet of retail space on the city-owned property.
Both brownfield sites are contaminated with heavy metals and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, according to Courtney.
In Willimantic at 27-28 Bridge St., a mill building demolished in the 1940s, was replaced with a gas station, car wash and fuel oil terminal. Contaminants found on site included poly-aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals, Courtney said.