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Monday, February 11, 2013

Brownfields Abound

Brownfield siteBrownfields are former industrial, commercial, or other properties that are abandoned, idle or under used, and redevelopment is complicated by some form of environmental contamination. Such as the California water board site depicted in this photograph from the San Francisco Bay Area, CA (Source: Re-use and redevelopment of a Brownfield site involves multiple steps that may include 1) Determine eligibility for state Brownfield program, 2) Receive state’s approval of site characterization work plan, 3) Complete site characterization including delineation of contamination, 4) Submit Brownfields clean-up proposal for public comment, 5) Gain approval for cleanup program, and 6) Complete remedial action.

Triple E Agent Assignment:
Refer to sources of funds for revitalizing Brownfields and EPA guidance on risk-based cleanup...
What federal and state agencies regulate Brownfield and land revitalization?

There are many economic incentives for various phases of Brownfield redevelopment efforts including federal, state and private sources of grant funds.  Some commercial mortgage originators, such as ELM Group, Inc, are capable of providing financial perspectives on these incentives.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides guidance for Brownfields and Land Revitalization. States will, to varying degrees, follow established EPA guidelines for cleanup but many have established their own standards for “maximum acceptable levels of contamination” and provide guidance for meeting these standards. Cleanup is coordinated with and regulated by the state Department of Environmental Quality or an equivalent agency. For cleanup, the end goal tends to be risk-based, with health risk to the “receptor” being the measuring stick for remedial action.

The average US state provides guidance on 270 contaminants, and a lifetime risk of 1/100,000 is typical for carcinogenic chemicals. Choice of remedial method, and technical viability depends on numerous factors including prior use, contaminant(s) of concern remaining on the property, foreseeable end use (e.g., residential or industrial), background concentrations, and others which then factor into the risk-based cleanup levels. Bioremediation is a preferred and accepted approach for cleanup of soil and water at a Brownfield site.

Until Next Time,
Triple E.

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