Whitesburg KY
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Conservation district receives two $200,000 grants from EPA

The Letcher County Conservation District this week received a check for $400,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess abandoned land that is contaminated or thought to be contaminated.

The two grants, $200,000 each, will allow the Letcher County Conservation District and The Head of Three Rivers Project to hold public meetings to gather input from the community as to which areas people think are brownfield lands.

Brownfield land is abandoned or under-used land where industrial sites and commercial facilities once existed which might be contaminated.

Eight to 12 of the sites will be looked at that are determined by the community at these meetings to be contaminated land.

Four to six of the sites will then be tested with water samples taken from the soil to see if hazardous materials such as explosives, acid mine drain, petroleum products or chemicals exist in the land. Preliminary plans will be made on how to clean up those specific sites.

A large portion of the grant will pay for a consultant to assess brownfield lands.

This process will allow The Head of Three Rivers Project and The Letcher County Conservation District to apply for more grant funding to actually clean up the contaminated sites.

“Everybody knows eastern Kentucky has been studied to death but sometimes you have to jump through hoops in order to make a difference,” said Sam Adams, Letcher County coordinator for The Head of Three Rivers Project. “The end result will be that it will raise the property values for the owners who have a brownfield and the neighbors of those sites.”

Adams said the project is voluntary and that land owners who do not want to participate don’t have to.

For more information, contact Adams at 634-8669.

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