Friday, September 22, 2017

DEP, Westmoreland County Partners View Progress In Redeveloping Jeannette Glass Brownfield Site

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell Friday toured the former Jeannette Glass site to see first-hand the importance of Pennsylvania’s brownfields program at work.
The Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation led the tour of the 13-acre site in the heart of Jeannette with city, county and state officials.
WCIDC staff explained to McDonnell and others the latest progress on building demolition and cleanup to prime one of the largest vacant parcels in Jeannette for future development by the target of July 2018.
“DEP’s Land Recycling Program encourages public sector remediation projects, but we can’t achieve our cleanup goals without these partnerships,” said McDonnell. “The benefits are threefold—a cleaner environment, economic development, and revitalized communities.”
After Jeannette Glass declared bankruptcy in 1983, the property changed hands but remained largely idle and plagued with environmental violations, which prompted enforcement actions by DEP and the City of Jeannette.
WCIDC secured the deed in 2015, entered the voluntary Act 2 program, and later received grant money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling, or Act 2, program has been recognized as a national leader in in facilitating the reuse of contaminated commercial and industrial sites.
WCIDC elected to pursue site-specific standards for soil and groundwater and are currently characterizing the contaminants at the site.
Ground was broken in May 2017 to begin the remediation which consisted of asbestos abatement, building demolition, waste removal, and sampling. WCIDC reached out to DEP for assistance to pursue Act 2 release from liability.
“This site has sat idle for too long,” said Jason Rigone, executive director, WCIDC. “We’ve set an ambitious timetable to finish remediation to get the site back on the tax rolls—a key to Jeannette’s revitalization.”
“We met early with WCIDC staff to go over any permitting requirements they might have and how we could expedite the process to keep the project on schedule,” said Ron Schwartz, acting regional director for DEP’s Southwest Regional Office.
WCIDC received a $960,300 Industrial Site Reuse Program grant to help fund the cleanup. Under the Wolf Administration, $12.3 million in ISRP grants funded site assessments and remediation projects throughout the Commonwealth.
House Budget Cuts Threaten Reuse Program
“The latest House budget proposal raids the Industrial Site Reuse Program fund, effectively cancelling vital projects like this,” said McDonnell. “Contaminated and blighted properties are often obstacles to a community’s turnaround, but state investment through the ISRP is a catalyst to leverage private investment. Zeroing out these funds works against our efforts to remediate lands and spur economic development.”
For more information, visit DEP’s Land Recycling Program webpage.
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