The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that 11 Maine projects will receive a total of $3.8 million in grants to assess and clean up brownfield contamination.

The Maine projects receiving grants range from communitywide assessments to funding to clean up of a former jail and a school.

The grants are designed to provide communities with money to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment. The money awarded in Maine is part of $67 million in brownfield funds awarded across the country.

Brownfield grants in Maine were awarded to:

— City of Bangor, $400,000 communitywide assessment grant

— City of Bath, $400,000 communitywide assessment grant

— City of Belfast, $200,000 clean-up grant for Maskers Theater/Thompson Wharf

— City of Biddeford, $200,000 clean-up grant for former Maine Energy Recovery Co. property

— Congress Street Hill Property LLC of Belfast, $200,000 clean-up grant for old Waldo County Jail

— Hancock County Planning Commission, $400,000 communitywide assessment grant

— Town of Kittery, $200,000 clean-up grant for Wood Island Lifesaving Station

— Northern Maine Development Commission, $200,000 for communitywide assessment grant

— Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission, $1 million for communitywide revolving loan fund

— The Community Library in Lyman, $200,00 clean-up grant for Lyman Cousens School property

— Washington County Council of Government, $400,000 for communitywide assessment grant

Bangor, Congress Street Hill Property, Kittery and the Community Library in Lyman are all first-time recipients.

Curt Spalding, regional administrator of the EPA’s New England office, said the department’s “investments in our communities through brownfields grants leverage an average of approximately $17 for every dollar we spend.”

“This is a wise investment in cleaning and revitalizing contaminated sites, creating jobs and new economic opportunities, and overall making our communities stronger and our environment cleaner,” he said.

Since 2002, Maine has received more than $50 million from the brownfields program, created 750 jobs and assessed or cleaned up more than 1,500 acres across the state, according to Gov. Paul LePage.

“The brownfields program fits with my administration’s vision that a strong economy and environmental support one another,” LePage said in a statement. “Contaminated or potentially contaminated sites are a fiscal burden to Maine’s communities. This funding helps put these properties back into productive use and protects our natural resources and public health.”

Commissioner Patricia Aho of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection said Maine has one of the most successful brownfields programs in the country because of the assistance DEP staff provides to applicants.

“Removing harmful contamination and redeveloping unsafe properties is not only good for the environment, it makes sense for the economy too,” she said in a statement. “We encourage anyone who knows of a potential site to work with us to clean it up.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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