Brownfields are typically unused commercial or industrial properties that may contain hazardous substances or pollutants and can be a small parcel lot or several acres. Unlike Superfund sites, Brownfields do not receive federal funding for cleanup and the cleanups are not monitored by the EPA.
Encourage the cleanup and reuse of Brownfields. Reuse of a brownfield helps revitalize a community and raise property values. It also removes any contaminants that may have been sitting on the site for many years. It’s a win-win!
Brownfields are properties that can be redeveloped or reused, but interested developers may shy away from a site because of fear of liability for contamination they had nothing to do with. However, the industrial or commercial site may be suitable for redevelopment, thereby avoiding the need to develop open land. Such properties could be former gas stations, dry cleaners, or manufacturing facilities. The Louisiana DEQ Brownfields Remediation Program provides incentives for property owners to clean up Brownfields sites. A Certificate of Completion can be awarded to owners who clean up these sites to minimum standards set by DEQ, known as Louisiana Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Program (RECAP) standards. This certificate releases the property owner from further liability under state law for past contamination of the site. However, the EPA can still take action against the site in the future if necessary under the Superfund program.
There are many federal, state, and local grants and monetary incentives for redevelopment of Brownfield sites. The EPA provides grants for assessments, clean ups, environmental training, and community outreach. You can find more information at www.epa.gov/brownfields.
LDEQ also has programs to assist those who are cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields. More information about LDEQ’s programs and resources available for the clean up of brownfield can be found at http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/portal/PROGRAMS/BrownfieldsandVoluntaryRemediationProgram.aspx.
In West Monroe, an individual inherited a property that was the site of a former dry cleaning establishment. The new owner wanted to redevelop the site, but found potential groundwater and soil contamination from the dry cleaning chemicals. The property owner agreed to participate in a Voluntary Remedial Action cleanup through the DEQ RECAP program. The site was cleaned, redeveloped and is now the home of a successful fitness center!
The Louisiana Citizens’ Guide To Environmental Engagement