Accidents, spills, leaks, and improper handling of hazardous materials and waste have led to contaminated land, water, and air in several communities. While communities seek ways to improve these areas, many times they lack the funding and the expertise to seek funding. Since 2011, in cooperation with the Mississippi Municipal League (MML) and U.S. EPA Region 4, MDEQ has held a “Brownfield Grant Writing Workshop” at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center during the annual MML Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Historically, Mississippi communities have been unsuccessful in securing these competitive EPA Brownfield Grants. In 2009, only one community (Hattiesburg) received a grant. In 2010, no Mississippi communities were awarded an EPA Brownfield grant. Recognizing the competitive nature of the national grant writing field, MDEQ stepped up its outreach efforts to help communities write better grant proposals. The workshop provides communities in Mississippi that have been unsuccessful in receiving an EPA Brownfield grant an opportunity to receive feedback on their grant proposals from others who frequently are successful in securing these grants. The Brownfield Grant Writing Workshop identifies weaknesses that should be eliminated and strengths that should be highlighted, while using collaborative techniques to produce partnerships.
MDEQ believes that the enhanced outreach efforts have shown positive results with a sustained increase in the Brownfield grant success rate.
Results to Date:
- On May 31, 2017, U.S. EPA awarded a record nine Brownfield grants to entities in the State of Mississippi.
- In FY 2016, four Mississippi communities received Brownfield grants.
- In FY 2015, Mississippi received its first-ever cleanup grants and an area-wide planning grant. One of these grants was awarded to nonprofit organization Mississippi Conference of Black Mayors for Itta Bena.
- In FY 2014, five communities (Biloxi, Corinth, Gautier, Laurel, and Monroe County) received a Brownfield grant, totaling $1,950,000 in grant funding.
- In FY 2013, six communities (Greenville, Holly Springs, Moss Point, Pascagoula, Starkville, and West Point) were successful in competing for Brownfield grants.
Brownfield Program Manager, Groundwater Assessment Remediation Division
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality