The federal government says for every dollar of clean up money, $17 are leveraged in the community.

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Columbia, SC (WLTX ) - A new grant awarded to the Department of Health and Environmental Control is expected to turn contaminated industrial sites in our community into success stories.

One of those sites is a new family athletic park being developed as an extension to Saluda Shoals Park.

"It had been an industrial site for more than 65 years," said Elizabeth Taylor, Executive Director of the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission.

The property, which they bought 10 years ago, was once the site of a capacitor dump, contaminated, and not able to be used for much.

"When we got here, it was an eye sore and now it's going to be a beautiful public park," Taylor said.

As part of the cleanup, they had to dig up old dirt, refill, and build a cap on top of the land to get rid of the hazardous waste left by our area's industrial history.

It would have never happened without money given to DHEC by the federal government to help with clean up costs.

"Its just a very important piece of property to our community," Taylor said. "Over the course of time, we have seen some decline in this business district. The commission was very committed to making a decision for this property that would boost the economy in this area."

DHEC just received a new $500,000 brownfield remediation grant. It's the same kind of money used to help clean up the athletic park.

The federal government says there are 450,000 brownfield sites just like this one across the country.

No word on which contaminated sites the new grant funds will be used to clean up.

"Without that brownfield money, our community would have been holding a blighted area with very few options," Taylor said.

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