Fehr Graham helps secure millions for Illinois brownfield cleanups to revitalize communities

Fehr Graham, a leading engineering and environmental firm, helped clients secure more than $7 million in funding to remediate brownfield sites. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $300 million in grants as part of President Joe Biden's Investing in America agenda, aimed at assessing and cleaning up polluted sites across the nation.

U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus, and Dick Durbin (D-IL), the caucus's majority whip, announced that Illinois received 10 grants totaling nearly $17.8 million. Fehr Graham wrote half of those successful grant applications.

The grants are part of the EPA's Brownfield Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup grant programs and support a variety of projects. Fehr Graham helped secure the following grants.

  • The City of Decatur received a $500,000 Brownfield Assessment Grant. Funds will be used to update and maintain a site inventory and conduct 12 Phase I and four Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). The money also will be used to support community engagement and develop reuse plans for the Jasper Street and MLK corridors. Priority sites include three former gas stations, the 21.5-acre former Prairie Farms Manufacturing campus, and the 9-acre former Tire One fuel transfer station and distribution center.
  • The North Central Illinois Council of Governments received a $1.5 million Coalition Assessment grant. Funds will be used to prioritize and inventory brownfield sites and conduct 28 Phase I and 15 Phase II ESAs. The money also will be used to develop 10 cleanup plans and four revitalization plans, and support community engagement. Assessment will focus on the City of Mendota's downtown corridor, the City of Streator's central business district, and the riverfront in Marseilles and Peru. Priority sites include a 5-acre former railyard, a 4.8-acre former Nabisco factory and a former watch factory partially destroyed by a fire in 2012. Nonlead coalition members include the cities of Marseilles, Peru, Streator and Mendota.
  • Moving Pillsbury Forward received a $2,652,300 Cleanup Grant. Funds will be used to clean up Buildings B, C, D and G of the Former Pillsbury Plant in Springfield. The 18-acre complex was used for large-scale grain milling, manufacturing and warehousing operations from 1929 to 2001. It has fallen into disrepair, and several buildings have been demolished. The site is contaminated with inorganic contaminants and metals. The grant money also will be used to develop fact sheets, provide website updates and conduct public meetings. In January 2023, Fehr Graham helped secure $2 million in grant funding for the project. Our team also helped the group secure $787,135 in funding in June 2023 to continue working on the site.
  • The City of South Beloit received a $1,461,005 Cleanup Grant. Funds will be used to clean up the former Mannino property, 420 Blackhawk Boulevard. The 1.7-acre cleanup site was used as a filling station, restaurant and auto repair facility between 1959 and 2014. Buildings were demolished in 2018, and the site has been vacant since. It is contaminated with semi-volatile compounds and metals in its soil and groundwater. Grant money also will be used to conduct cleanup planning and community engagement, including three public meetings. Fehr Graham helped South Beloit secure $311,400 in June 2023 to clean up another contaminated property.
  • The City of Mendota received a $1,270,305 Cleanup Grant. Funds will be used to clean up the Former Campbell Cleaners property, 805-807 Illinois Avenue. The 0.25-acre cleanup site consists of two parcels. The southern parcel was used as a steam laundry and dry cleaner from 1929 to 2000. The structure was demolished in 2020, and the site has since been vacant. The northern parcel was used for farm implement sales and service and as an automobile parts retailer from 1956 to 2023. It is vacant and unused. Both parcels are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and metals. Grant funds also will be used for community engagement.

Cleaning up contaminated and underutilized sites helps protect the health of children and families, and it also helps spur development, job creation and economic growth for affected communitie.As a co-founder of the Senate's Environmental Justice caucus, I'm relieved that this federal funding will help clean up polluted brownfields across Illinois, and I'll keep working to ensure the health and safety of our communities is protected and upheld."

Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Senator

The EPA's recent announcement included $68 million in supplemental funding to 31 Revolving Loan Fund grant recipients. This funding is designated for communities with ongoing projects in need of additional financial support.

Since 1995, the EPA's Brownfields Program has provided $2.7 billion in grants. Now bolstered by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with an increase in maximum awards, it aims to revitalize contaminated sites, particularly in disadvantaged communities, aligning with President Biden's Justice40 initiative.

Fehr Graham is instrumental in securing financial support for its clients by identifying and applying for loans and grants to fund projects. See all grant recipients, and read the full news release here