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Environmental Restoration Program

In an effort to spur the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields, New Yorkers approved a $200 million Environmental Restoration Fund as part of the $1.75 billion Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act of 1996 (Bond Act). Under the Environmental Restoration Program, the State provides grants to municipalities to reimburse up to 90 percent of on-site eligible costs and 100% of off-site eligible costs for site investigation and remediation activities. Once remediated, the property may then be reused for commercial, industrial, residential or public use.

Requests for funding exceed the $200 million authorized under the 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act for the ERP. Only $180 million of the $200 million authorized is actually available. The last $20 million is tied to a 1997 budget bill appropriation which requires a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Governor and legislative leadership designating the use of the $20 million appropriation. Applications have not been approved since 2008 and new applications are not being accepted due to lack of funding.

First ERP Grant Turned Construction Junkyard into New Housing Community

Former APCO property before remediation
The Former APCO property, site
of the first ERP project, was the
longtime dumping grounds for a
local contractor. Photos
courtesy of Rochester DEQ.
Aerial view of property surrounded by houses
The site is surrounded by
residential properties. State and
local officials worked closely with
residents to solicit input on the
design of a new subdivision.
Remediated site with new housing subdivision
In the new housing community called
Newcroft Park, all lots sold quickly,
increasing the local tax base and raising
the value of surrounding homes.

Liability Limitation

  • The municipality and all successors in title, lessees, and lenders are released from remedial liability for hazardous substances that were on the property prior to the grant.
  • The State indemnifies these same persons in the amount of any settlements/judgements obtained regarding an action relating to hazardous substances that were on the property prior to the grant.
  • Such person shall be entitled to representation by the State Attorney General.

Eligibility

  • New York State municipalities are eligible. The term "municipality" includes counties, cities, towns and villages as well as local public authorities, public benefit corporations, school and supervisory districts and improvement districts. Additionally, the term "municipality" includes a community based organization which partners with a municipality.
  • The municipality must own the property and cannot be responsible for the contamination.
  • The purpose must be to investigate or remediate hazardous substances or petroleum on the property.
  • The property cannot be listed as a Class 1 or 2 site on the New York State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites.

Remediation projects are evaluated based upon four criteria defined in the 1996 Bond Act:

1. benefit to the environment;

2. economic benefit to the State;

3. potential for public or recreational use of the cleaned up property; and

4. availability of other funding sources to pay for the project.

Two Types of Grants:

1. Investigation Grants

  • The purpose is to determine the nature and extent of contamination and then determine the appropriate remedy.
  • Investigations follow the same process as a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study used in the State Superfund Program.
  • Includes public input on the selection of the cleanup remedy and ends with a Record of Decision (ROD).
  • Investigation applications are handled on a first come, first served basis.

2. Remediation Grants

  • Remediation includes the Design and Construction of the cleanup selected in the ROD.
  • Projects are prioritized using a priority ranking score based on the four criteria in the 1996 Bond Act.
  • Remediation applications are reviewed, scored, ranked and approved on a periodic basis.

Program Resources and Contacts:

The following guidance documents are available which outline the program: the Procedures Handbook (141 KB PDF file), and the State Assistance Contract (24 Page PDF, 84 KB). For additional information regarding the Environmental Restoration Program contact your Regional Program Contact.


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