Sibley Mill Clean-up Receives EPA Funding

(May 8, 2013) The Augusta Canal Authority has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help fund Sibley Mill environmental cleanup. The federal agency announced recipients of its FY 13 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup grant competition in a news release from its headquarters in Washington, DC today.

The Canal Authority, which purchased the 518,000-square-foot Sibley Mill in 2010, had made two previous unsuccessful applications for a share of the limited federal cleanup funds. “The third time’s the charm,” said Dayton Sherrouse, the authority’s executive director. “It is a very competitive program with a lot of applicants.” The Authority’s was one of only two cleanup funding applications approved in Georgia.

The Canal Authority commissioned American Environmental Construction Services to prepare an environmental assessment and corrective action plan for Sibley shortly after acquiring the property three years ago. The plan identified several contaminants, including heavy metals and semi-volatile organic compounds that need to be addressed prior to any possible redevelopment. Total estimated cost for remediation is approximately $2.1 million."Whether the property eventually becomes the Mills Campus, or is put to some other use, it will require environmental remediation,” said Sherrouse.

This phase of cleanup will involve removal of contaminated soil. The Canal Authority will negotiate a cooperative agreement with the EPA and begin work once authorization to proceed is received. The grant requires a 20 percent match in local funds, meaning a $40,000 local allocation will be leveraged into a $240,000 in project.

As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a brownfield is a property that has a presence, or potential presence, of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants, thus creating complications during its expansion, redevelopment, or reuse. EPA's Brownfields Program is designed to provide benefits to the environment and economy of local communities through revitalization of these sites. Sibley Mill, which opened in 1882, operated continuously as a textile mill for 124 years before closing in July 2006. It occupies land that was used for the Civil War-era Confederate Powder Works that manufactured most of the gunpowder used by Southern armed forces.

Sibley Mill Purchase Finalized

(August 31, 2010) The Augusta Canal Authority now owns Sibley Mill. The Authority closed the $800,000 sale with prior owner Avondale Mills, Inc. on Tuesday, said Authority Executive Director Dayton Sherrouse. The property includes the landmark 19th Century textile mill, outbuildings, the hydro-electric plant and approximately 20 acres of land stretching from the banks of the Augusta Canal to the Savannah River. The property is of national historic significance as the site of the Confederate States of America Powder Works from 1862-1865. The Authority will stabilize and secure the buildings, perform required environmental remediation and then market the property nationally for private development.