Gautier leaders seek funding to clean up potential hazards

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The city of Gautier is seeking funds to help cleanup potential hazardous and polluted sites around town. The Environmental Protection Agency Grant is for $400,000.

Gautier Mayor Gordon Gollott would like the aging tanks at a vacant gas station removed. He worries if they break, they'd pose a serious threat and a health hazard to residents.

"These gas lines, they need to be eliminated. We need to take this out and clean it up," Gollott said.

So, grant and project manager Patty Huffman is applying for a federal EPA assessment grant called Brownfields. It helps target areas that are suspected of being polluted so they can be cleaned up.

"Abandoned gas stations, railroad spurs, old dry cleaners, places like that," Huffman said.

City leaders are also calling on the community to help. They want to put together a team that could point out potential sites that are contaminated, especially in neighborhoods.

"We know a lot of them are long term citizens here and they know where some of these sites are. So, we are asking for their help. There is a very important grading system of winning one of these assessment grants," said the mayor.

The mayor feels eliminating any possible hazards, on both personal and private sites around town, is significant because it could make way for potential redevelopment.

"Once we get them cleaned up, they will become possibly additional sites for other businesses to come in and help the economy in the city. As we well know, our income comes from sales taxes, so we need more businesses here. We need people involved in the community and that will give us an opportunity to clean up our city and beautify it," Mayor Gollott said.

City officials said they plan to apply for a grant this month. The EPA should make a decision sometime next year.

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