Pennsylvania Remediates Three Former Industrial Sites

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced three new approvals through the Industrial Sites Reuse Program (ISRP) that will clean up former industrial sites in Montgomery, Luzerne, and Allegheny counties to prepare them for occupation by businesses and residential properties.

“The benefits of the ISRP are twofold, not only removing harmful chemicals and contaminants from these sites and protecting our environment, but also making them ready for new occupants,” Governor Wolf said. “Having these sites ready for business is a significant attraction when companies are looking to relocate or expand here.”

The ISRP provides loans and grants for environmental assessments and remediation. The program is designed to foster the cleanup of environmental contamination at industrial sites, thereby bringing blighted land into productive reuse.

“The value of these projects is apparent when you look at what is planned for them: the development of new housing, new university space, and a nonprofit center dedicated to environmental protection,” Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin said. “The advantage of developing those facilities, rather than simply letting the toxic vacant lots sit unoccupied, is incalculable for the local communities.”

“We’re pleased to collaborate with DCED on these brownfield redevelopment projects, and thousands more statewide,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “These projects provide the crucial foundation of funding environmental and public safety to support communities’ vision of life after blight.”

The three approved projects are as follows:

  • The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Montgomery (RAMC) was approved for a $1,000,000 grant for environmental remediation costs at the former Keasbey & Mattison Company manufacturing facility located in Ambler Borough, Montgomery County. The project will remediate the asbestos-contaminated 4.6-acre parcel and construct a 134,205-square-foot, 115-unit apartment building. ISRP funds will be used for excavation and disposal of contaminated soil and asbestos-containing material, installation of geotextile fabric for ACM-free utility corridors, installation of environmental cap, testing, and inspections.
  • The Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund was approved for a $680,375 grant for environmental remediation of a former manufacturing building located at 116 South Main St. in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County. The site contains a 60,000-square-foot building and was the former home of a furniture store, where furniture and coffins were both manufactured and sold. The building was eventually converted into a Sears Roebuck Department Store. ISRP funds will be used for the removal of asbestos, lead based materials, PCB containing light ballasts, mercury containing components, and other hazardous materials. Once the site is remediated, Wilkes University plans on acquiring and renovating the building for a multitude of uses including classrooms, bookstore/retail, and meeting space.
  • The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) was approved for a $198,425 grant for the remediation of the former 5-acre Tippins, Inc. site in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County. The URA purchased the site in 2008 and is currently under a long-term lease agreement with Tree Pittsburgh, a local non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring trees and forests throughout Allegheny County. Tree will utilize the parcel to develop an education center, office building, workshop, outdoor classroom, and a tree nursery. ISRP funds will be used for: soil testing; installing a 6-inch cap across the site to include building foundations, road surfaces, and qualifying cap aggregate; installing a vapor intrusion barrier under the foundation of the existing workshop; and capping all testing wells according to Department of Environmental Protection standards.

For more information about the Industrial Sites Reuse Program visit www.dced.pa.gov.