October 26, 2016 in Community, Projects, and Sustainability

Revitalization of Gautier community continues through EPA grant funding

Gautier, Miss. – The City of Gautier continues to make progress with the funding received through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Assessment Grant. In October 2014, the EPA awarded the $400,000 grant to the City to evaluate contaminated or potentially contaminated properties. Gautier was one of only three Mississippi cities to receive the grant.

“This brownfields assessment grant allows the city to address properties with contamination or that simply have the perception of contamination. It provides a great cost savings to the property owner and helps better position the property for redevelopment,” said Mayor Gordon Gollott. “Hopefully soon the city will start seeing the fruits of this project in the form of new businesses and services for the community.”

Gautier UST removalNow at the end of its second year, 12 properties have already been assessed, with 10 sites identified as “ready for redevelopment.” No environmental concerns were found at these sites during the complete assessment process.  Five sites were evaluated at a more intensive level with sampling that included soil and groundwater testing. Underground storage tanks were identified at one of these sites, and a tank removal was conducted with grant funds. All five sites evaluated currently meet the State of Mississippi screening levels for soil and ground water.

Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood (GMC) Environmental Manager Jymalyn Redmond will present an update to the community on the current status of the project, including properties ready for reuse and next steps, on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers.

The funding enables the City to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning and community involvement related to these contaminated sites, or brownfields, which are defined as “real properties, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

Brownfield properties often remain idle for long periods of time due to fear of extra costs or complications associated with redeveloping these types of properties. The funds will be used to foster economic development and support local businesses by encouraging redevelopment of these brownfields that may otherwise remain deserted or underutilized. Grant monies may be used to fund Phase I environmental site assessments and Phase II assessments of the properties, which many banks require prior to purchase or financing.

Environmental experts from GMC, a regional engineering and architecture firm, worked with the City of Gautier to prepare the grant application and continue to work with city officials to identify and assess these properties within the Gautier community.  If eligible contaminated properties are identified during the assessment process, the City of Gautier can apply for cleanup funds to assist in cleanup of sites.

To suggest possible sites for assessment or for additional information concerning this assessment grant and its progress, please contact April Havens, City of Gautier Grants and Projects Administrator, at 228.497.1878 (ext. 315) or ahavens@gautier-ms.gov. For technical questions, contact Jymalyn Redmond at 334.590.7910 or jymalyn.redmond@gmcnetwork.com.