A meeting is set for Thursday morning to talk about a local program that helps property owners identify and clean up contaminated property.
“Environmental Assessment and Cleanup Across the Hi-Line: An Introduction to Bear Paw Development’s Brownfields Program and Case Studies, ” is scheduled to run from 8 a. m. to noon at Hensler Auditorium in the Applied Technology Center of Montana State University-Northern.
The agenda includes an introduction to Brownfields, Bear Paw’s program, how the program benefits landowners and cleanup funding options.
The next item continues cleanup funding options with an introduction to the Environmental Protection Agency’s process for cleanup of Brownfields.
After a panel addresses some frequently asked questions about the site, the next item is a discussion of case studies in the Bear Paw program.
The first will look at two sites in the hazardous substance, nonpetroleum category: the former Malta Airport and the Big Sandy Library.
The next will look at two petroleum-contaminated sites: Short Stop gas station in Havre and Fort Benton Motor Co.
EPA defines a Brownfields site as a property that is abandoned, idled or underutilized due to real or perceived contamination of the site.
Bear Paw tried for several years to get into the EPA program and was awarded two $200,000 grants in 2008 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. One grant was to assess sites believed to be contaminated with petroleum products, the other was for sites believed to be contaminated with other hazardous substances ranging from asbestos or lead-based paint to byproducts from methamphetamine laboratories.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency last year awarded a $1.4 million three-part grant to Bear Paw for the Brownfields Program. A portion of the grant, $400,000, again was in two assessment grants, split between general contamination and petroleum contamination assessments, and $1 million was for a revolving loan fund to help pay for cleanup.