…Somerville receives $400,000 EPA grant to help developers clean up contaminated sites

Thanks to a new federal grant, Somerville has another $400,000 to dole out in brownfield loans, giving developers funding to clean up property, making room for new construction.

“No private developer can go it alone,” said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, noting that much of the property available for redevelopment in densely packed Somerville has been contaminated and needs cleaning up.

The money will be loaned out to developers in Union Square or East Somerville, but city officials would not mention what specific properties it could go to because they are still in negotiations.

The old Kiley Barrel site on Prospect Street — where 38 years of cleaning chemical barrels left a potpourri of toxins in the soil — was mentioned as a possible target of a brownfield loan.

Somerville currently has $450,000 in similar funds that have been lent out, mostly to clean up Maxpak, an old factory torn down to make room for a residential development off Lowell Street.

There are several polluted properties in East Somerville and Union Square, including 50 Tufts St., the Target parking lot, Webster Avenue, the intersection of Pearl Street and the McGrath Highway and the Public Safety Building, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Curt Spalding handed a giant mock check for $400,000 to Curtatone at a press conference in Union Square Tuesday morning.

“Cities must thrive for us to be successful going forward,” Spalding said. “Somerville is a great example of a city using our grant and loan money especially well.”