Brownfields Grant Program Gets Underway in Walker County

Lots of people sitting down attempting a meeting

Walker County, in partnership with Terracon Consultants, hosted a town hall meeting in February to inform the public about brownfields, as well as efforts to protect the environment.

A brownfield site is a property thats full use is hindered by fears of environmental contamination. These sites can range from an old dry cleaner or abandoned gas station to a former factory or illicit dump site.

Walker County recently launched a new program to identify and develop clean-up plans for up to 30 brownfield sites in the community. Funding is available to conduct a non-intrusive assessment of environmental conditions at a potential brownfield site, and, if needed, develop a plan for clean-up. The EPA awarded a $500,000 grant to the county and cities of Chickamauga, LaFayette and Rossville to assess sites for hazardous substances and petroleum.

“It’s not that the federal EPA wants to invest $500,000 into our community and walk away,” said Shannon Whitfield, Chair, Walker County Board of Commissioners. “They want to invest $500,000 and then come back and help us implement the clean-ups that are needed in the community, so they get value from that initial seed investment.”

Property owners who wish to be considered for assessment can download an application online and then submit their site for consideration. One of the benefits for a land owners to take part in this program is to address the due diligence needed to sell or redevelop the property. The assessment reviews the history of the site, what is there presently, how sites around it are affected, and potential environmental recognized conditions.

Phase One of an environmental assessment covers inspection of property, an interview with the property owner and neighbors, a review of environmental records and a review of historical records. Phase Two involves a collection of samples at the site, an assessment to determine if the site is contaminated, and a determination of if the suspected contaminates are present at concentrations above regulated levels.

After a potential brownfield site is identified and assessed, a remediation or clean-up and reuse plan is developed. “We want to be able to show you sites that were brownfields and now here’s what it looks like after its been cleaned up and revitalized and here’s how we got here,” said Whitfield.

To learn more about the Walker County Brownfields Grant Program, visit the Brownfields Grant page (

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