Targeted Brownfields Assessment Initiative
EPA Region 3 has initiated a program aimed at helping municipalities to redevelop contaminated properties in their community. Under this program, EPA will conduct Brownfields Site Assessments at selected sites in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The purpose of a Brownfields Site Assessment is to aid municipalities in determining the nature and extent of environmental contamination.
What is a Brownfields Site Assessment?
A Brownfields Site Assessment is a study conducted by EPA to determine the nature and extent of environmental contamination. The assessment will be conducted by environmental consultants currently under contract with EPA. This program does not provide funds to conduct remediation or building demolition activities. The site must be contaminated or suspected to be contaminated with hazardous substances. Sites that are contaminated only with petroleum products are not eligible for assistance.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
EPA assistance will be offered for sites where control and ownership issues are not an impediment, and there are strong commitments to clean up and redevelop the site. Therefore, the site should currently be publicly owned, or will eventually be publicly owned, either directly or by a municipality through a quasi-public entity such as a redevelopment authority or industrial development corporation. A nonprofit entity (e.g., a community development corporation) may also apply for assistance as long as the nonprofit or a municipality owns the site.
The public or nonprofit entity should apply on behalf of a specific site which it currently owns or can obtain ownership through some other means (e.g., tax foreclosure). If the site is not currently owned by the public or nonprofit entity, the site should be "abandoned." An abandoned site for the purposes of this program is a site where the current owner has shown no interest in the property, has not paid taxes on the property, and does not have the resources to conduct the required site assessment work. Public or nonprofit entities that may be considered a "responsible party" (responsible for the contamination at the site) are not eligible for assistance under this program. Although this program is not intended to assist private parties in assessing and cleaning up their sites for redevelopment, EPA would consider privately-owned sites on a case-by-case basis. Generally, the private entity should provide information on prior environmental work performed at the site.
EPA funding for this program is limited. Therefore, EPA's selection process will be aimed at projects where the public entity has concrete redevelopment plans, and can demonstrate through its application for assistance a strong commitment toward facilitating the redevelopment of the site after the Brownfields Site Assessment is completed. Redevelopment can involve the creation of commercial, industrial, recreational, or conservation uses.
How to Apply
If you are interested in receiving assistance from EPA in the form of a Targeted Brownfields Assessment, you should submit a letter to EPA at the following address:
US EPA Region 3 (3HS51)
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
Your letter should address the following criteria:
Site control and ownership transfer is not an impediment
- Site is publicly owned either by a municipality or through a quasi-public entity such as a redevelopment authority or industrial development corporation.
- Site is owned by a nonprofit entity such as a community development corporation.
- Site is privately owned and a clear means of recouping EPA expenditures is available (e.g., through an agreement with the owner or developer or through a lien), or the private entity has performed prior environmental work at the site.
Strong municipal commitment
- There is a strong municipal commitment as demonstrated by a willingness to legally take the property if necessary, establishment of financial incentives, or commitment of municipal resources for other components of the project.
Clear municipal/community support for the property's revitalization
- The site is clearly an integral part of a local development plan and there is no known public opposition.
Adequate resources and high developer interest
- The municipality or potential site developer has demonstrated an ability to leverage additional funds for cleanup and other future work at the site; and/or the site has strong development potential as demonstrated by past or present interest by a developer(s).
EPA assessment assistance is crucial
- Lack of site assessment is the major obstacle to redevelopment and other resources are not available for assessing the site.
- The state/congressional members have no objection to federal involvement or the redevelopment project.
Existing information supports directing resources to the site
- Based on existing information, the site is likely to have low to moderate levels of contamination.
- Commitments are in place for the cleanup and redevelopment of the site.
- Redevelopment will result in benefits to the community, such as an increase in jobs for the surrounding residents.
Project area has a clear need for revitalization
- The project has significant deterioration or significant environmental justice issues, which provide a clear need for revitalization.
- There is clear coordination between EPA Region 3 and the state program.
Consistency with other economic redevelopment initiatives
- Site has an important linkage to other EPA/state initiatives.
- A direct health/environmental threat will be mitigated or site revitalization will serve to spur further beneficial activity in nearby locations.
- There is consistency with other federal agency brownfields efforts, e.g., economic redevelopment efforts.