What Is a Brownfield Project?

These days, if you want to build a new structure, it’s likely that you’ll be building it where another structure once stood. Recycling the land is important, of course, but if you’re building on a former industrial or commercial site, there is always a chance that the site is environmentally contaminated. In other words, you may have a Brownfield project on your hands . . . So what is a Brownfield project?

More importantly, how should you manage and prepare a Brownfield site with safety and environmental standards in mind? Scroll down to find out.

What Is a Brownfield Project?

The term Brownfield refers to land in the United States that was previously used for a commercial or industrial purpose and currently potentially contains hazardous waste or pollution. Common contaminants include asbestos, lead paint, hydrocarbon spillages, solvents, pesticides, and TBT. If the land is properly cleaned up and the contamination is remediated, the site can safely be used for other purposes.

“Brownfield project” is primarily an American urban planning term, and it can also refer generally to commercial/industrial land that will soon be upgraded. Brownfield properties can be large (for example, manufacturing sites and industrial plants) or small (abandoned dry cleaners, gas stations), and they are not necessarily contaminated. To be labeled a Brownfield, the site must only be suspected of contamination.

Investing in Brownfield properties is important because it protects the environment by reducing the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants. Plus, it makes previously dangerous land usable, improves local ecology, increases property values, protects human health, and improves the community’s image. What’s not to love?

How to Manage a Brownfield Project

Cleaning up Brownfield sites is a complicated job, so it’s important that an experienced manager handles the project. They will need to balance legal requirements, funding and grants, and environmental consultants and contractors to deliver a cost-effective and safe solution.

Related federal legislation include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). There are also many applicable tools and grants to be aware of, such as Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grants, which provide funding for cleanup activities at Brownfield sites.

Environmental due diligence is crucial, and for that you’ll need to research environmental consulting and contracting professionals. Look for a company that boasts many years of experience, emphasizes safe work practices, and delivers flexible and cost-effective solutions. They should be able to help you with Phase I and II environmental site assessments, Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs), and Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA).

If you need help managing a Brownfield project, contact Environmental Works. We have completed numerous Brownfield revitalization sites, and our experience includes hundreds of site restoration initiatives in addition to government contract work. From inventories and corridor studies to Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, we’ve done it all. To learn more about our services, please give us a call at 417-890-9500 or contact us online.