RACW Awards

Phoenix Award

Ingersoll-Rand Development Project

The Phoenix Awards are the premier awards for achievement in brownfield redevelopment. Created in 1997, this prestigious award honors individuals and groups who are working to solve the critical environmental problem of transforming abandoned industrial areas into productive new uses.

The RACW received the Phoenix Award in 1998 for the Ingersoll-Rand Redevelopment Project that remediated 3.5 of 4.3 acres of land located in Charleroi and North Charleroi municipalities. Remediation techniques included encapsulating contaminated soil instead of transporting soil to another site and restric­ting groundwater use to prevent disturbance of soil and pollution of groundwater and a river. Construction techniques included renovation of asbestos laden buildings to prevent contamina­tion of the site and enable the reuse of some of the existing buildings. The reuse of these buildings prevented additional wastes from going to a landfill.

The former use of the buildings was for the production of mining equipment. 52,000 s.f. of existing buildings were renovated and 12,000 new s.f. were added to the site. Today, the remediated brownfield site is home to a food warehouse and distribution company and a manufacturer of hydraulic equipment.

Participants in the project included the Washington County Commissioners, RACW, PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), PA Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED) and the current owner of the site. The cost of the project totaled $1,607,251 with money coming from State grant programs (Industrial Communities Site Program $796,443 and Enterprise Zone $35,172) and Federal (Community Development Block Grant $275,636) funds along with $50,000 from the current owner. Funding also came from the state Public Loan Program PA Economic Development Financing Authority ($450,000).

Looking back at the project there were some difficulties and lessons learned. The main problem was the unmarketable nature of the site. After being unoccupied for 5 years, contaminated soil and asbestos laden, structurally unsound buildings made the site unattractive to any developer. However, with the completion of the project, the RACW was able to sell the site and successfully facilitate new business to the site. This was achieved through multi-party cooperative and collaborate efforts that benefited the local communities both economically and environmentally.

Benefits to the communities included the elimination of a contaminated industrial site, the prevention of groundwater and river pollution, two new businesses with significant job creation, an increase in tax revenues, and aesthetically pleasing buildings and grounds. The project brought 59 new jobs to the area with the expectancy to increase to 102 within 3 years.