The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $1 million grant to a team of environmental experts at NJIT who offer technical assistance to communities working to transform contaminated properties into clean and productive land.Under a previous EPA grant, NJIT established its Technical Assistance to Brownfield Communities Program (NJIT TAB). The new grant will allow NJIT to continue to provide communities with scientific, planning and engineering expertise for another five years.
Specifically, the grant allows the NJIT TAB team to continue to advise communities in the New England and Mid-Atlantic region. NJIT TAB is comprised of planners, environmental scientists and engineers who provide free technical guidance to any state, region, county, tribal, or local government or not-for-profit organization in the above states.
“We are thankful to the EPA for this grant,” said Colette Santasieri, TAB’s director, “since it will allow us to continue to help transform and return underutilized properties to productive use, thereby improving environmental conditions, increasing the tax base, creating jobs and strengthening communities.”
TAB, which was formed five years ago with funding from the EPA, has a long history of accomplishments in reclaiming brownfields, said Santasieri. TAB, for instance, helped a rural town in Maine create a redevelopment plan for the former Maine Leathers Tannery site. It is also preparing a five year, city-wide brownfield cleanup and redevelopment strategy for a Camden, N.J. And TAB is helping a community group in Yonkers, New York, convert a former rail line into a community bike and walking trail.
The NJIT TAB Program provides a range of assistance to communities such as developing grant proposals, prioritizing brownfield sites, interpreting site characterization results, explaining clean-up technologies, navigating regulatory programs, layering funding and financing options and explaining regulatory requirements. The TAB team helps communities strategize on the ultimate redevelopment of sites and work through issues such as community engagement, funding, regulatory requirements and resilient design.
“NJIT is deeply involved in sustainable and environmental research and outreach,” says Santasieri, “and our brownfield program is just one example of how we use our technical skills to help communities improve the quality of their lands, and of their lives.”