CAIRO – May 18, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced cleanup on a leaking underground storage tank in Cairo has been completed using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) program funding provided through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). The former gas station will be home to a new clothing store.
“This site used to be a contaminated eyesore, but with funding from the federal stimulus program, we are giving it new life,” said Governor Quinn. “As a clothing store, this site will now benefit the community by putting people to work and bringing in much-needed revenue.”
Corrective action involved removing two 1,000-gallon gasoline underground storage tanks and one 5,000-gallon diesel underground storage tank, as well as removal and disposal of six truckloads of contaminated soil. The city of Cairo also approved a groundwater ordinance restricting the use of groundwater for drinking purposes within city limits, which eliminates the risk associated with this contamination.
“Projects like this can be a critical first step in taking underutilized property and redeveloping it into a beneficial site,” said IEPA Director Doug Scott. “This can often re-energize a community, expand the economy and put people to work. As a former mayor, I know firsthand benefits that come from programs such as this.”
The Illinois EPA has received over $7.4 million that has been used to clean polluted and abandoned sites and those with leaking underground storage tanks. These sites have environmental hazards that prevent redevelopment, hindering economic revitalization across the state. Once remediated, these sites create jobs and are an economic boost to their communities.
The Cairo property met the required “shovel ready” definition, allowing the state to move forward quickly in order to create much-needed jobs and clean-up contaminated property to make it ready for reuse.
The Illinois EPA’s initial list of 28 shovel-ready projects, which were submitted to U.S. EPA, included municipalities where environmental site investigations have already been completed through the state Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Grant program or where communities have applied and are still waiting for a grant to perform site investigations.
Many of these projects received special consideration because they are located in federally-designated Environmental Justice areas, which have significant minority or low-income communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental and other health hazards. Moving these projects forward benefits environment, and attracts private investment and new jobs where they are needed the most.