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Land Revitalization Summer '06 Newsletter – Delaware promotes redevelopment at LUST sites

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has begun to create a database of abandoned and under-utilized leaking underground storage tank (LUST) sites to help return the sites to productive reuse. Working with county and municipal governments, the database will benefit developers and residents near LUST sites, and current LUST site owners.

When it is completed in 2008, the database will include land use information, as well as the status of environmental investigations, and cleanup activities at leaking underground storage tank sites.

"EPA and DNREC are gaining a better understanding of land use issues associated with contaminated, or previously contaminated, properties. DNREC prefers that newer businesses set up shop on previously developed properties rather than virgin land. DNREC realizes that for this to happen to the greatest extent, it has to coordinate and communicate effectively with potential developers," said Mr. Tripp Fischer, environmental engineer with DNREC's tank management branch.

When the project is complete, the database will show how the currently identified 2,800+ LUST properties are being used, reused, or if they are vacant. It will also show if the underground storage tanks have been removed and if the cleanup is complete.

Wilmington, Delaware

Hi-Tech Gas Station
Before: An abandoned gas station with leaking underground storage tanks

Completed Bio-Swail
After: A sustainably designed parking lot and community park

The first step is to begin gathering information and learning how county agencies are tracking the data. DNREC has already met with two counties and so far, the results have been positive. The next steps will be to set up the framework and the database. The project includes matching existing geographic information system and tax parcel information kept by county agencies with environmental cleanup data managed by the state's environmental agency.

A bit of history: DNREC decided to create the database when it learned how EPA's Region 3 analysis showed how land is being used at RCRA and Superfund hazardous waste sites. (An article about the EPA study is in the newsletter.) Delaware will be one of the first states -- and maybe the first state--to employ the database tool to expedite redevelopment of LUST sites.

"EPA supports Delaware's initiative and recognizes the important relationship between cleaning up sites and getting them back in reuse," said David Iacono, EPA's regional manager for UST programs.

Since LUST-brownfields properties are often prime commercial lots, letting developers know more about them can increase the options for future reuse. Another benefit of the integrated database will be that institutional controls for sites can be enforced by accessing the counties' land use and building permit data. So, when sites are being redeveloped, builders can take precautions during new construction to properly manage low level contaminated soils that were left on site during the risk-based cleanup.

To learn more about Delaware's Brownfields efforts please go State of Delaware's website.

For more information on DNREC's LUST site redevelopment efforts, please contact Mr. Tripp Fischer at 302-395-2500. For more information about EPA Region III's LUST site redevelopment efforts, please contact Carletta Parlin at parlin.carletta@epa.gov or 215-814-3380.

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Brownfields & Land Revitalization


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