Grant would help Whitfield County assess closed carpet sites

Grant would help Whitfield County assess closed carpet sites

November 25th, 2011 by Andy Johns in News

Mike Babb

CALHOUN, Ga. - Whitfield County has applied for a grant to check out carpet stains in the environment around old plants and see what it would cost new tenants of the plants to clean them up.

Julie Meadows, with the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, told officials at last week's commission meeting that Whitfield has asked for $700,000 from the federal brownfields program, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to study closed carpet plants and figure out the price tag for any cleanup.

"We just don't know [the potential costs] and neither do the companies that want to come in and redevelop these sites," Meadows said.

Whitfield County Commission Chairman Mike Babb said any business considering a move to one of the old carpet plants around the county will want to know if any environmental cleanup costs are associated with the property. Some of the dyes or other chemicals used in manufacturing could be costly to clean at some sites but absent from others, he said.

Not knowing, he said, is an obstacle for redevelopment.

"With the older plants, you never know," Babb said. "Things were handled differently 40 years ago."

Meadows said the grant, if approved, would cover assessments and cleanup plans, which then could be handed over to companies or individuals looking at the property.

"This answers most of their questions," she said.

Babb said the grant would be an important step to bring businesses back to the Carpet Capital.

"I know we've got a lot of empty carpet buildings in Dalton," he said.