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Land Revitalization Spring '08 Newsletter – Taking Stock of Targeted Assessments

64 percent of sites are being reused or planned for reuse

The EPA recently evaluated all 232 Targeted Brownfield Assessment (TBA) sites performed in Region 3 since 1997.  The study, done in February, reveals that 64 percent of TBA sites are currently being reused or planned for reuse.

Stainless Site before Cleanup

Outside of Stainless Site before Cleanup

Stainless Site after Cleanup

Outside of Stainless Site after Cleanup

  A TBA is a Phase 1 and/or Phase 2 environmental assessment conducted by EPA or the states to determine the nature and extent of environmental contamination on a brownfield.  These assessments are conducted by the EPA regional offices directly or by state agencies through grants provided by EPA.  TBAs are a valuable tool in assisting communities with redevelopment planning. 

The study identified redevelopment successes, sites where additional assessments or cleanups are necessary for redevelopment, and sites that are available for future residential, commercial or industrial redevelopment.  Nineteen EPA-led and 213 state-led TBAs were evaluated.

  Eleven percent of these sites have been completely revitalized, transforming abandoned factories, warehouses and acid mine drainage areas into community parks, skating ponds, residences, restaurants and manufacturing operations.  Fifty-three percent of these sites are either being partially used during ongoing investigation and cleanup or are ready for reuse.  Plans for redevelopment at these sites include an outdoor classroom, residences and office space intended to revitalize riverfront areas, and manufacturing operations.  The remaining 36 percent of these sites have no revitalization plans or are in need of further investigation or cleanup before redevelopment can occur.

Inside of site before Cleanup

Inside of Stainless Site before Cleanup

Inside of site After Cleanup

Inside of Stainless Site after Cleanup

One TBA success story is the transformation of the former Stainless site in Perkasie, Pa. which was a vacant, 2.8-acre commercial property located in an industrial and residential area. The property had been used industrially since 1912. The most recent industrial owner, Stainless, Inc., operated a steel fabrication facility there from 1967 through the mid 1980s, when operations ceased. The property first became an environmental concern in 1990, when an oily discharge running into a small stream bordering the site was reported to the Bucks County Department of Health.   Initial site assessments performed by Stainless, Inc. revealed an underground storage tank containing fuel residue and water, and a subsurface vat containing solvents.  Though some remedial actions were taken, trichloroethylene (TCE) levels remained high in the site’s soil and groundwater.

            Following these initial assessments, the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority (BCRA) purchased the Stainless property with the intention of cleaning and preparing it for resale. BCRA entered Pennsylvania’s Act 2 voluntary cleanup program and received funds for treatment of TCE in the soils.  During the cleanup, a nearby facility, conducting its own monitoring, found TCE in its groundwater samples.

Because the state, BCRA, the nearby facility, and the community lacked authority and resources to investigate the source of the TCE, BCRA asked EPA to conduct a TBA.  The results of the TBA led EPA to conduct more extensive investigations across the entire area, finding multiple plumes.  By using the TBA process, the cleanup and reuse of the Stainless site could continue while still protecting of human health and the environment.

Following cleanup, the site was purchased by First Savings Bank and is now home to the bank’s 40,000-square foot green office building. The building is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified and includes lots of natural light, efficient windows and other features, achieving a 25 percent savings in heating and cooling costs.  By reusing an abandoned building rather than constructing a new one, farmland was preserved. 

For more information about EPA’s TBA report, contact Dianne McNally at mcnally.dianne@epa.gov or 215-814-3297.  To apply for TBA assistance from EPA, go to our website: http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/bfs/regional/eligibility.htm.     

Article contributed by
Dianne McNally
EPA Environmental Engineer

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