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Brownfields

WHAT IS A BROWNFIELD SITE?

A Brownfields site is a property where the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of the site may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant (such as petroleum, asbestos, lead-based paint, hazardous substances, or other contaminants). 

WHAT IS AN ASSESSMENT?

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

The Phase I ESA involves a review of records, a site inspection, and interviews with owners, occupants, neighbors and local government officials. The review of government records and interviews may take a lot of time. To ensure a quality assessment, allow sufficient time for the process.

Contamination can result from activities that took place on the site . Contamination could also come from activities at a nearby property. The records and interviews will be the best sources to provide this information. Public records are available regarding the locations of properties that have been classified as contaminated by federal or state regulations. Depending on their proximity to your site, contamination could have made its way to your site.

Phase II ESA

If a Phase I ESA identifies potential contamination of the site by hazardous materials, a Phase II ESA may be conducted. The Phase II ESA includes sampling and laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of hazardous materials.

 Some of the tests that may be performed include:

  • surficial soil and water samples
  • subsurface soil borings
  • groundwater monitoring well installation, sampling, and analysis (may be appropriate on neighboring properties as well to determine the presence of contamination)
  • drum sampling (if any were left on the property)
  • sampling of dry wells, floor drains and catch basinS
  • transformer/capacitor sampling for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  • geophysical testing for buried tanks and drums
  • testing of underground storage tanks

Depending on the results of the samples, the Phase II ESA should outline additional site investigation needs, and potential remedial actions that may be required to clean up the property.

How are ESAs Performed?

After a site is nominated and approved by the LCRPC, each Phase I or II ESA funded by LCRPC’s grant funds will be performed at no cost to the owner or prospective owner by Ransom Consulting. The assessments are conducted in compliance with EPA’s technical and scientific standards.

 

Why Would I Be Interested?

 For current or potential property owners, an assessment can:       

  •  avoid environmental surprises
  •  facilitate the transfer of the property
  •  make the property more marketable and potentially more valuable
  •  reduce environmental risks and potential for offsite migration of contamination
  •  avoid passing environmental liability onto future site owners/occupants

Top priority for the assessment funds will be vacant or underused properties where there’s interest in bringing in a new business or expanding an existing business—either way, creating new jobs. The funds can also go toward recreation or conservation lands, possibly adding key acres to a town or land trust-owned property.  

Across the country, properties with past hazardous waste contamination have been re-developed for all kinds of uses -- housing, commercial, manufacturing, and recreation. A cleaned-up brownfield site can also contribute to cleaner water in rivers, lakes, and harbors.

Community Involvement

In addition the inventory the LCRPC is preparing, we are also looking for input from YOU. No thorough inventory would be complete without input from the citizens who live, work and play in the region. If you are aware of a potential Brownfield Site that is in need of environmental assessment, redevelopment, and reuse planning, please let us know!

If you are a local official or property owner aware of a potential Brownfield Site in need of this environmental assessment, please contact the LCRPC office and/or fill out a SITE NOMINATION FORM.

A ROAD MAP is always handy --  to learn more about brownfields assessment and clean-up through some of EPA's technical resources and tools, head online to the BROWNFIELDS ROAD MAP.

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