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Utah, Woods Cross awarded EPA funds

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WASHINGTON — The city of Woods Cross and the state of Utah have been awarded $200,000 each by the Environmental Protection Agency to help clean up "brownfields," old industrial areas that may be contaminated with hazardous substances.

That was part of $75 million in grants given to communities in 42 states Tuesday by EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt to help clean up brownfields nationwide.

Leavitt, the former Utah governor, announced the grants while visiting the site of a former metal foundry in Milwaukee, which is being redeveloped into a light-industry business park.

"Brownfields sites like this are a blight on thousands of cities," Leavitt said. "We're helping turn these eyesores into opportunities, bringing new life to communities and cities, everything from new jobs and new housing to new shopping opportunities and new recreational facilities."

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality was awarded $200,000 to inventory and assess contamination at abandoned gasoline stations statewide.

The EPA said many service stations throughout the state have closed because of competition from high-volume retail outlets — and abandoned stations are often on high-use corners, or in low-income areas.

The EPA said providing data about the nature and extent of any contamination will help pave the way for eventual reuse of the sites.

Woods Cross also received $200,000 to assess the petroleum contamination at a former refinery site. That may also help to determine if it is feasible to buy the property, clean it and build a regional recreational facility there — including baseball and soccer fields.

The EPA said the property is the only location in Woods Cross suitable for development as a recreational facility. It added that cleanup of the property could serve as a catalyst for cleanup of other industrial properties in the area, and at the city's 15 other brownfields.

E-mail: lee@desnews.com