HELENA - Montana Department Of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is partnering with stakeholders to address hazardous substance and petroleum Brownfields sites across Montana
In Helena, the Brownfields coordinators are helping the developer of the old Ming Theater or now the Algeria Shrine Temple access the potential pollution.
“We are just in the beginning of exploring some renovation stages and they have been just essential in helping us with the environmental aspect of that renovation,” said Larry Nielsen, President of the Board of the Great Lodge of Montana.
Nielsen says that he hopes to have the Algeria Shrine Temple become a venue for events and theatre.
“We think our facility has is a unique gem in the city of Headland and we would like to see the Community use it a lot more,” said Nielsen.
Right now, the redevelopment at the Shrine Temple is in phase two where DEQ is assessing every linoleum tile, and painting to ensure that there is no lead or asbestos.
Montana DEQ Program Coordinator Sarah Seitz says that most of the pollution and hazardous materials in Brownfield sites are commonly asbestos, lead paint and even old petroleum tanks.
"In order to do some development in this area, they need to assess the environmental conditions and see what may occur. It's typically those environmental conditions are like lead paint or asbestos. It could be old tanks on the site. In this case it's primarily lead paint and asbestos,” said Seitz.
The DEQ Brownfields program is funded by the EPA and even grants, recently Montana DEQ was awarded $2 million to complete environmental site assessments across the state, which for Brownfields Coordinator Jason Seyler is vital for restoring history.
“Reusing historic buildings is phenomenal use of Brownfields and assessing them and getting over those environmental hurdles which will allow these properties to be put back into beneficial use,” said Seyler.
DEQ officials say they are always looking for more redevelopment opportunities for older buildings.
“We are literally here as a resource to you to help redevelop your project,” said Seyler.
If you are a developer and would like DEQ to assess potential hazardous materials you can find contact information on their website.