OLYMPIA – The grant process that helps local governments clean up contaminated, publicly owned property has changed to speed up cleanup and redevelopment.
The Washington Department of Ecology made changes to the rule that governs the Remedial Action Grants and Loans Program. Ecology uses funds generated by a voter-approved tax on hazardous substances to provide the grants and loans. Cities, counties, port districts, and other public entities can tap into the funds to help cover the costs of cleaning up contaminated sites they own.
The changes respond to revisions made by the 2013 Washington Legislature to the state’s cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act. Lawmakers established new funding priorities for the grants and loans and directed Ecology to modify the program. Among the changes, Ecology can now:
•Enter into extended grant agreements with local governments for projects costing more than $20 million spread over multiple budget cycles. Such projects receive priority for funds.
•Provide grants for studies that help local governments plan to clean up and reuse contaminated sites.
Other changes include clarifying funding processes, updating funding limits and grant-match requirements, and streamlining and clarifying the rule.