Tacoma receives $500K for brownfields job training

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today it has selected the City of Tacoma to receive $500,000 in grant funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide job training to assess and clean up contaminated sites known as “brownfields.” Brownfields workers will be able to turn rundown eyesores into revitalized, productive properties. These funds are part of more than $6.8 million provided by the Recovery Act to provide brownfields job training across the nation.

The city plans to train 200 participants, place 150 graduates in environmental jobs, and track graduates for a year. The training program will consist of eight 98-hour or 212-hour cycles on four tracks.

Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $25 million in brownfields job training funds. EPA established the Brownfields Job Training Program to help residents take advantage of jobs created by the assessment, as well as to spur cleanup and sustainable reuse of brownfields sites and to ensure that the economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities.

Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Brownfields Law) was passed. The Brownfields Law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs. EPA’s Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.