New Jersey Institute of Technology has been chosen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide training and technical assistance to communities in EPA Region 2 (which includes New Jersey) under the Technical Assistance to Brownfields Program.
Much of the technical assistance will be provided to communities in underserved and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods — places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed. This assistance is available to all stakeholders and comes at no cost to communities, NJIT officials said.
The NJIT TAB Program will serve as an independent resource and provide technical assistance to communities attempting to cleanup and reclaim brownfields in EPA Region 2, which also includes New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The program helps communities through the challenges they commonly face.
The Brownfields TAB Program helps communities, states, tribes and others understand the human health and environmental risks associated with contaminated or potentially contaminated properties, and learn how to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse them. For example, the training and research to be delivered by the selected TAB providers will assist communities in:
- Identifying and prioritizing brownfields for redevelopment;
- Determining the potential public health impact of brownfield sites;
- Identifying appropriate funding/financing approaches;
- Applying for and managing EPA brownfields grants;
- Evaluating economic feasibility of reuse plans;
- Interpreting technical brownfield reports, assessments, and plans;
- Understanding and navigate regulatory requirements.
This Technical Assistance for Brownfields grant is a competitive grant awarded every five years; providing up to $200,000 per year over the course of five years.
Collette Santasieri, the executive director of the NJ Brownfields Assistance Center @ NJIT, has overseen the technical assistance provided to hundreds of brownfield-challenged communities over the past decade.
“Our team of experts looks forward to working closely with the EPA Region 2 brownfields team,” she said. “We intend on working with communities in their efforts to become more sustainable, resilient, environmentally just and economically sound.”
NJIT President Joel Bloom said the school is eager to share its expertise in brownfields redevelopment and to foster economic growth in underserved and economically disadvantaged communities throughout the region.
“Our experience in this area is extensive, and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve these communities,” he said.
Barry Breen, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management, said the program is an important part of President Joe Biden’s administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in disadvantaged communities.
“A primary goal of our brownfields technical assistance program is to help communities transform environmental liabilities into community assets,” he said.” Today’s selected grant recipients will serve as independent resources for communities facing the challenges of assessing, cleaning up and preparing brownfield sites for redevelopment.”