News Release

NJIT awarded $10 million for technical assistance at polluted brownfield sites through EPA grant

Grant and Award Announcement

New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology has been awarded $10 million by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a $315 million initiative from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites across the country. The funding comes entirely from the historic $1.5 billion investment from Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties that may have hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants present, making their redevelopment complex.

Under the EPA’s Technical Assistance to Brownfields Program, $53 million will be designated to provide training and technical assistance to communities across the EPA’s 11 regions. NJIT’s Technical Assistance to Brownfield (TAB) Communities program will cover EPA Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight Indian Nations) and Region 4 (eight southeastern states and six tribal nations).

The NJIT TAB program aims to provide technical assistance, guidance, and resources to state, regional and local governments, tribes, nonprofits and other stakeholders involved in brownfield redevelopment. Its primary function is to empower communities to assess, clean up, and redevelop brownfield sites, transforming them into productive and sustainable assets. This assistance is available to all stakeholders and comes at no cost to communities.

Colette Santasieri, executive director of the NJIT TAB program founded in 2008, will oversee the technical assistance provided to the thousands of impacted communities throughout the two EPA regions. Joining Santasieri and serving critical roles within the NJIT brownfields team and the NJIT Center for Community Systems is Sean Vroom, director of the Center for Community Systems, and Cailyn Bruno, director of environmental services in the Center for Community Systems.

“Our experience in this field is extensive and our team of experts are enthusiastic about working closely with the EPA Region 2 and 4 brownfields teams,” said Santasieri. “Partnering with communities throughout the eastern United States, we will help transform previously unsafe and unusable sites into sustainable, resilient, environmentally just and economically sound locations."

Brownfield redevelopment programs create many benefits for local communities:

  • Return on Investment — Projects leveraged $19.78 per EPA $1 expended
  • Job Growth — Leveraged more than 183,817 jobs nationwide
  • Increased Property Value — Residential property values jumped 5% - 15.2% near brownfields sites when cleanup is completed
  • Increased Revenue — Can increase local tax revenues when cleanup is completed
  • Environmental Benefits — Reduced stormwater runoff, improved water quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality

"NJIT is proud to be selected by the EPA to share its expertise in brownfields redevelopment,” said NJIT President Teik C. Lim. “This program demonstrates NJIT’s commitment to fostering economic growth, environmental justice, and improved quality of life in underserved and economically disadvantaged communities throughout our region, and the country.”

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