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The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) helped the South Central Tennessee Development District and its partners receive a federal grant of $1.5 million to address brownfields in a 13-county service area.

The funds are among three federal grants for brownfield remediation announced for communities in Tennessee by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grants include $632,807 for the City of Dunlap and $3.5 million for the City of Chattanooga, bringing the total in the state to $5,632,807.

TDEC worked with the grantees in support of their applications for the federal funds and will continue to assist them, providing technical oversight throughout the life of the grants.

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“We congratulate these communities on their success in obtaining the grants, and we are pleased to have provided assistance in the process,” said Greg Young, deputy commissioner for Environment at TDEC. “Brownfields can not only be cleaned up but can become community assets, and these federal grants will go a long way in making that happen in Tennessee.”   

The EPA announced over $300 million in grants from the Investing in America initiative to help states, tribal nations, local governments, and non-profit organizations clean up polluted brownfield sites throughout the country.

The South Central Tennessee Development District, based in Mount Pleasant, has partnered with the City of Shelbyville, Bedford County, and Lincoln County to assist with the assessment of brownfields in 13 counties – Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry, and Wayne. 

The funds will be used to develop 12 cleanup plans and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on the cities of Shelbyville and Fayetteville. Priority sites include a 1.54-acre former cotton mill, a 4.7-acre former wire manufacturer, and a 6-acre former hospital.

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The grant for the City of Dunlap is to remediate the former Victory Automotive property. The supplemental Revolving Loan Funding grant for Chattanooga is to assist with the cleanup of brownfields throughout the city.

A brownfield is a property that is vacant or underutilized due to contamination. Remediation minimizes threats to public health, safety, and the environment. Brownfield sites vary in size, location, age, and past use.

When asked about Coffee County brownfields (specifically), Kim Shofinski, Deputy Communications Director for TDEC told Thunder Radio, “The properties (brownfields) that will be assessed in the area will be at the discretion of the South Central TN Development District and the property owners. The following list is not exhaustive, but the priority properties identified in the Development District’s grant application include: Elk Yarn Mill, Hwy 231 N., Fayetteville, TN; R & B Wire & Steel, 4071 Thornton Taylor Pkwy, Fayetteville, TN; Lincoln County Hospital, 700 Maple St., Fayetteville, TN; National Pen, 342 Shelbyville Mills Rd., Shelbyville, TN; and Mars Dogfood Plant, E. Depot St., Shelbyville, TN.”

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