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Federal money may help clean up old gas station, garage
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Al Auto's Repair, a deserted garage on Memorial Drive in Hinesvill, is one of eight brownfield sites along Memorial Drive officials would like to have cleaned of contaminants. - photo by Andrea Washington / Coastal Courier
Hinesville was among four cities and two development authorities in Georgia to receive grants to clean up toxic areas from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week.
The EPA awarded $150,000 to the city to help continuing efforts to clear out so-called brownfield sites at former gas stations along Memorial Drive. The work is part of a Memorial Drive realignment project, according to Hinesville Community Development Department Manager Kenneth Howard.
"There are various sites on our Memorial Drive Realignment Project that have some underground storage tanks and we're going to be cleaning those up," he said. "This grant is going to be used to help with that."
Hinesville officials have identified a total of 30 brownfield sites in the city, eight of which are along Memorial Drive that have been abandoned, idle or underused. The new grant will be used to clean at least one of these locations, the 0.4-acre Al's Auto Repair site at 123 Memorial Drive.
Howard explained the purpose of cleaning this brownfield -- land previously used for industrial purposes and now contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution -- is to remove petroleum contaminants that could keep the property from being developed.
The CDD applied for the grant in the fall, after winning a grant in 2006 but losing it because the city had not bought the property by the EPA's deadline.
Howard said the Al's Auto Repair property still has not been purchased, but city officials are continuing negotiations to acquire the land.
Under EPA provisions, officials have until the beginning of June to buy the property or again lose the funding.
Cleanup should take six to eight months to be completed.
The city is required to match up to 20 percent of the award amount.
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