Waterford, Michigan -- Oakland County will receive a $600,000 federal grant to help local communities and developers determine if contaminated land can be reclaimed and redeveloped.
The grant was awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and given to Oakland County Brownfield Coalition (OCBC) communities of Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Pontiac and Southfield will each receive $60,000. The remaining $240,000 will be used in other Oakland County communities. This is the fourth grant Oakland County has received from the EPA to perform environmental investigations of contaminated land.
"These grants help our communities identify potential development sites for land that sat dormant for years because of industrial contamination," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "Reclaiming this land helps our communities and allows for responsible development."
A similar $1 million grant awarded in 2009 produced 124 projects, with the proposed generation of $300 million in investment and creation of 1,800 jobs. Among the projects that benefitted from that grant are the Emagine Theatre, Royal Oak; Lafayette Lofts, Pontiac; Emerald Steel, Madison Heights; Stepping Stone School, Farmington Hills; Leonard Mill Trail Head, Leonard; Tractor Supply, Lyon; Tianhai, Auburn Hills and Milosch’s Palace Collision, Orion Township.
In addition to promoting industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfield projects have converted industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails and gas station sites to housing.
PM Environmental of Berkley and the six OCBC communities provided support for the grant application.
"The team at Oakland County Economic Development went above and beyond to gather the necessary demographics for the county and six coalition communities to make this grant application a success," said Michael T. Kulka, P.E., founder and CEO of PM Environmental. "This grant will be a great catalyst for further economic activity and greatly benefit the people and businesses expanding in Oakland County. PM Environmental is honored to be a part of this dynamic team."
The area's long manufacturing history has left Oakland County with several abandoned, brownfield commercial and industrial sites. Water quality and the reduction of runoff and groundwater contamination are major concerns many homes rely on private water systems. Assessment and cleanup of the brownfields will allow the county to expand and continue its efforts to assist, encourage, and facilitate the redevelopment of these sites to meet the needs of its residents.
Waste Resource Management operates under the authority of the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. It facilitates the county Solid Waste Plan as well as coordinates programs and activities that support the environment, local municipalities, residents and businesses. The county's Brownfield Redevelopment Authority was established in 2001 to aid local communities and developers in obtaining brownfield incentives from federal and state agencies.