AUSTIN, Texas -- Turning trash into treasure. That’s the goal of one Austin organization that got a big boost from the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday.
The City of Austin Brownfields Program received two Environmental Protection Agency grants totaling $300,000.
The Brownfields Program turns property that contains asbestos, mold or other pollutants into usable 'greenspace,' or mixed-use affordable housing.
One of those spaces is the Mabel Davis Park in Southeast Austin. Another is the Red Bluff trail in East Austin that was once filled with toxic debris.
"We sampled some of that material and it came back as having asbestos so we had asbestos contractors go out and do a removal,” said Brownfields Program Manager Christine Whitney.
Whitney tells KVUE that around one-fourth of every property they survey comes back positive with pollutants.
"You might not know that the vacant field next to you actually has landfill waste on it or had shredded batteries," she explained.
According to Austin Mayor Steve Adler, for each dollar that goes toward clean-up, the city gets $16 back in jobs and economic opportunities.
The grant will likely go toward cleaning up an area near the new Dell Medical Center, according to Whitney.
The city still has to survey the property and come up with a plan.