Port authorities seeking grants to clean up abandoned sites

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Lawrence County and Ironton port authorities are joining forces to apply for federal funding that would aid in cleaning up contaminated sites throughout the county.

At its Tuesday meeting the county commissioners supported the two port authorities forming a coalition to apply for brown field assessment grants. The commission rescheduled its regular meeting because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“It would do assessments on various former service stations throughout the county and other brown field sites, where we believe there are remains of underground storage tanks,” Dr. Bill Dingus of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. said in an interview after the meeting. “We are trying to be proactive in helping out people who bought property who need to have them removed. We can, through these grants, be of assistance in analyzing what needs to be done and in some cases removing the tanks.”

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The port authorities are applying for grants from $50,000 to $100,000 for a two-year period that will assess what needs to be done to remove the hazards.

“Like U.S. 52 ran along County Road 1 at one point,” Dingus said. “You had three car dealerships on County Road 1. Many of those tanks were never properly dealt with.”

Right now there are 10 to 12 such sites in the county, Dingus said. Plus local funding could be used to restore the site to a usable condition.

“If you had a gas station and the EPA would come in and take care of the removal of the tank, they probably would not take care of the gas station building,” Ralph Kline of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, said. “County Block Development Grants would remove the building. Once you are finished with the EPA, you have a cleared site.”

In other action the commission:

Changes the status of paramedic Mike Bias from part-time to full-time;

• Received correspondence from Ohio AgrAbility on assistance for disabled veterans who farm;

• Approved Community Development Block Grants agreement for $221,000, including $111,000 for a Symmes Valley Community Center; $50,000 for demolition projects; and $15,000 for water and sewer facilities.