This Fall the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) announced program implementation details for the newly created $20 million dollar Abandoned Service Station Fund. ODSA sent out an announcement to contacts that it would likely begin accepting applications winter, however, to date the ODSA has yet to begin accepting applications. ODSA developed the program in conjunction with Ohio EPA and the Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulation (BUSTR).
The Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant was specifically created to target a certain segment of brownfields largely neglected in Ohio – abandoned gas stations and petroleum underground storage tanks. The program provides grant funding to pay for sampling and clean up of BUSTR Class C sites (underground storage tanks with documented petroleum releases and the owner of the tank has no funds).
A key eligibility issue discussed in a prior post has been resolved favorably. Local government entities do not need to actually own the site to be eligible to receive funding. Local governments can work with the landowner, similar to other brownfield programs, and apply for funding so long as there is a development agreement between the government and the landowner. However, the applicant and property owner cannot have contributed to the prior release of petroleum or other hazardous substance on the site.
Eligible activities include up to $100,000 for assessment and up to $500,000 for cleanup. Other eligible activities include costs to empty or remove underground storage tanks, abatement of asbestos, lead or other contamination, demolition and site clearance.
ODSA stated in its announcement that priority will be given to vacant gas or service station projects where cleanup provides the greatest environmental, community and economic impact. This statement suggests that priority will be given actual abandoned gas stations. There are also many instances where abandoned underground storage tanks exist on industrial or commercial property. It appears the State views these sites as less of a priority.
As discussed in the prior post, the State already maintains a list of BUSTR Class C tanks. There are over 500 Class C tanks already appearing on the list. With so many abandoned tanks, it is very likely that the $20 million in funding will be used up very quickly. Therefore, it is important for any landowner or community seeking funding to make sure they are ready to submit an application as soon as the program opens.
Update: ODSA just released its webpage on the Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant Fund. Application materials and scoring matrices for projects will soon be availble