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The Brownfields Program helps developers assess land pollution

New Dairy Queen reaps benefits of the program
Dairy Queen
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-17 20:00:36-05

BUTTE — A new building on Mercury street is the site of a new Dairy Queen in Uptown Butte. This new building was helped by a program to see what needs to be cleaned up before development can happen.

It’s called the Brownfields Program and it wasn't until recent years that Butte was eligible for this program.

"Previously, Brownfields was prohibited from being used within a federal Superfund site and we were- we advocated on behalf of these communities to the EPA and they were able to actually change that determination and now Brownfields can be used within these communities as long as it’s addressing contaminants that are different than those that are addressed by the federal Superfund project," said Jason Seyler, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality Brownfields Coordinator.

The Brownsfields Program was made a coalition between Butte local development corp, Anaconda local development corp, and Headwaters RC&D.

The building on Mercury street sits where an old gas station used to be and usually this could spell out trouble for the developer if any gas had leaked in the years it wasn’t used which made it the perfect place for the Brownfields Program to be utilized.

"We were able to do a phase one and a phase 2 assessment on that property, see what the environmental concerns were and better understand it and then give the person who purchased the land, the developer, a report to let them know what is there and what would have to be cleaned up,"said Julie Jaksha, Headwaters RC&D Regional Director.

Jaksha said the next step would be for them to get a Revolving Loan Fund or RLF so that they can help developers clean up the sites.

"Maybe they need to go in and removed the asbestos or they have to remove the lead or they have to remove some petroleum then we could help with those funds if we had an RLF."

Jaksha hopes that more people start to use this program in Butte.

"I would welcome anybody that’s thinking about purchasing a property or redeveloping a property to reach out to see how we can help them," Jaksha said.