Pelzer Heritage awarded $400,000 EPA grant

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For Mill Dump cleanup

The Pelzer Heritage Commission is one of three recipients in South Carolina that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding with Brownfields grants to help redevelop former contaminated industrial sites. Pelzer Heritage will receive an EPA grant totaling $400,000 which will be for cleanup of the former Pelzer Mill dump site on the Saluda River. $200,000 will be for the former Pelzer Mill Dump – Eastern Parcel Overlook Park and $200,000 for cleanup of the former Pelzer Mill Dump Western Parcel.

The grants are meant to provide communities with funding necessary to clean and rebuild contaminated properties, boost local economies and create jobs while protecting human health.

EPA Region 4 Brownfield Director Barbra Alfan said the purpose is to reclaim the sites. “These properties are the home of a former mill, a former drycleaner, anything like that used chemicals in their process or manufacturing,” she said.

EPA’s Brownfields grants provide resources early which is critical for the success of communities’ ability to leverage additional partnerships and resources. The community leaders– represented by local governments, states, tribes, quasi-governmental organizations, and non-profit entities– have demonstrated strong partnerships and plan to leverage the EPA grants with other public-private investments. They use an inclusive process to help spur the redevelopment of vacant, former manufacturing and commercial sites for broader revitalization in their downtowns. This results in a transformed economy and environment while addressing poverty and economic distress.

The South Carolina brownfield grant recipients are:

· City of Greenwood, SC (Greenwood Mill #5) ($200,000 cleanup grant)

· Pelzer Heritage Commission (Former Pelzer Mill Dump – Eastern Parcel Overlook Park) ($200, 000 cleanup grant)

· Pelzer Heritage Commission (Former Pelzer Mill Dump Western Parcel) ($200,000 cleanup grant)

· Town of Saluda ($400,000 assessment grant)

The Pelzer grants are of particular notice, as the former mill town in Anderson County is looking to create a kayaking and canoeing river trail that would pass through the closed industrial dump site. A town heritage commission is also looking to turn the site into a park.

The EPA said communities selected among this year’s finalists demonstrate “a high level of preparedness to undertake specific projects.” The announcement said those communities involved have firm commitments of leveraged funds to move projects forward.