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Brownfields

Types of Brownfields Grant Funding

Summary of Grant Funding

EPA's Brownfields Program provides direct funding for brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, environmental job training, technical assistance, training, and research. To facilitate the leveraging of public resources, EPA's Brownfields Program collaborates with other EPA programs, other federal partners, and state agencies to identify and make available resources that can be used for brownfield activities.

Assessment Grants

Assessment Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to inventory, characterize, assess, conduct a range of planning activities, develop site-specific cleanup plans, and conduct community involvement related to brownfield sites. The performance period for these grants is three years.

Community-wide Assessment Grants

  • A Community-wide Assessment Grant is appropriate when a specific site is not identified and the applicant plans to spend grant funds on more than one brownfield site in its community.
  • An applicant may request up to $300,000 to assess sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum), and/or petroleum.

Site-specific Assessment Grants

  • A Site-specific Assessment Grant is appropriate when a specific site is identified and the applicant plans to spend grant funds on this one site only.
  • An applicant may request up to $200,000 to assess a site contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum), and/or petroleum.
  • An applicant may seek a waiver of the $200,000 limit and request up to $350,000 for a site contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, and/or petroleum. Waiver requests must be based on the anticipated level of contamination, size, or status of ownership of the site.

Assessment Coalition Grants

  • An Assessment Coalition Grant is for three or more eligible entities that will submit one grant proposal under the name of one of the coalition members (the ‘lead’ coalition member) and will perform assessment grant activities in each coalition member’s community.
  • An applicant may request up to $600,000 to assess sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum) and/or petroleum.

** NEW DATE - Note: Current EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant recipients interested in applying for a FY 2019 Assessment Grant must draw down at least 70% of each Assessment cooperative agreement by January 1, 2019, as reflected in EPA’s grants financial database (Compass Data Warehouse).**

Grant Application Resources

Assessment Grant Recipient Resources

General Resources

Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants

Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide subawards to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. Through these grants, EPA strengthens the marketplace and encourages stakeholders to leverage resources to clean up and redevelop brownfields. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.

An eligible RLF Grant applicant may apply as an individual entity or as a RLF Coalition comprised of two or more entities. A RLF Grant applicant may apply for up to $1,000,000 to address brownfield sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum), and/or petroleum.

Some features of the RLF Grants include:

  • RLF programs are designed to operate for many years (possibly decades) and as such, they require long-term resource commitments by the RLF Grant recipient and reporting to EPA, even after the RLF Grant is closed.
  • Recipients need to have a strong understanding of real estate financing principles and approaches, including loan underwriting, loan servicing, and credit analysis.
  • Recipients need to have the ability to market the RLF program on an on-going basis during the performance period of the grant, and after the close out of the RLF Grant.
  • Recipients commit to properly manage the program income generated by their RLF program in perpetuity, unless they terminate the agreement and return the program income to EPA.

** A solicitation for new Revolving Loan Fund Grants will not be issued in FY 2019. EPA anticipates soliciting requests from existing, high-performing RLF Grant recipients for supplemental funding through a Federal Register notice in early 2019. **

Grant Application Resources

RLF Grant Recipient Resources

Cleanup Grants

Cleanup Grants provide funding for eligible entities to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. An applicant must own the site for which it is requesting funding. The performance period for these grants is three years.

  • An applicant may request up to $500,000 to address one brownfield site, or multiple brownfield sites, contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum), and/or petroleum.
  • Applicants may submit one Cleanup Grant proposal each competition cycle.

Statutory Cleanup Cost Share Requirement

  • Cleanup Grants require a 20 percent cost share, which may be in the form of a contribution of money, labor, material, or services, and must be for eligible and allowable costs (the match must equal 20 percent of the amount of funding provided by EPA).
  • Tribes, nonprofit organizations, and government entities (with populations of 50,000 and fewer) may request EPA to waive the 20 percent cost share requirement based on hardship. EPA will consider hardship waiver requests on a case-by-case basis and will approve requests on a limited basis.

Note: Brownfield sites where Brownfields Cleanup Grant funds were previously expended may not receive additional Cleanup Grant funding.

Grant Application Resources

Cleanup Grant Recipient Resources

General Resources

Area-Wide Planning (AWP) Grants

The Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (BF AWP) Grant program provides funding for recipients to develop an area-wide plan for assessing, cleaning up and reusing catalyst/high priority brownfield sites. Funding is used for a specific project area, such as a neighborhood, downtown district, local commercial corridor, old industrial corridor, community waterfront or city block, affected by a single large brownfield site or multiple brownfield sites. View the Brownfields AWP Fact Sheet.

**After FY 2017, EPA will not issue a new solicitation for BF AWP Grants. Current recipients will continue to carry out activities under existing agreements until the end of the grant period of performance.

Applicants seeking funding to conduct planning activities, such as those previously eligible under the BF AWP Grants, should review information on Assessment Grants and Multipurpose Grants.**

This program was inspired, in part, by the area-wide revitalization approaches used by communities who participate in the New York State Brownfields Opportunity Areas (BOA) program. View the June 2016 report Evaluation of the New York State Brownfields Opportunity Areas Program by New Partners for Community Revitalization and NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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BF AWP Grant Recipients

FY 2017: 19 Communities Selected

In January 2017, EPA announced 19 communities selected to receive FY 2017 BF AWP Grants. The recipients will use the grant funds (up to $200,000 per recipient) to develop plans for the assessment, cleanup and revitalization of abandoned industrial and commercial properties that have contributed to area-wide environmental degradation, economic hardship and social inequities.

FY 2015: 21 Communities Selected

In March 2015, EPA selected 21 communities across the country to receive BF AWP Grants in FY 2015. EPA awarded up to $200,000 per recipient so they can engage the community and conduct brownfields planning activities to consider brownfield site cleanup and reuses in conjunction with community assets.

FY 2013: 20 Communities Selected

In spring 2013, EPA selected 20 communities across the nation to be awarded approximately $4 million in total grant funding. These communities used the grant funds (up to $200,000 per recipient) to develop area-wide plans and specific implementation strategies for integrating the cleanup and reuse of brownfield sites into neighborhood revitalization efforts.

FY 2010 (pilot round): 23 Communities Selected

In fall 2010, EPA selected 23 communities to facilitate community involvement in developing an area-wide plan for Brownfields assessment, cleanup and subsequent reuse. The pilot program recipients each received up to approximately $175,000 in grant funding and/or direct technical assistance from EPA. View the list of pilot project award recipients by state.

Ideas and Lessons Learned from the BF AWP Communities

EPA compiled ideas and key lessons learned based on the experiences 23 pilot communities who started their BF AWP projects in 2010. Included in this report are ideas, advice and examples on project approaches that the pilot communities found particularly useful, constructive and effective for helping them successfully manage their process and develop a plan implementation strategy. EPA thanks the BF AWP pilot communities for sharing their experiences, ideas, lessons learned and project pictures.

In 2017, Groundwork USA reviewed final plans that emerged from nine EPA-funded BF AWP projects and discussed the process/progress of each project with local affiliated stakeholders. They developed this report to help practitioners learn from and implement best practices for an area-wide planning approach in their own brownfield-affected communities, regardless of the source of funding supporting it.

BF AWP Tools & Webinars

Reference: FY 2017 BF AWP Grant Competition Materials

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Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Grants

Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Grants allow nonprofits, local governments, and other organizations to recruit, train, and place unemployed and under-employed residents of areas affected by the presence of brownfields. Through the EWDJT Program, graduates develop the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in various aspects of hazardous and solid waste management and within the larger environmental field, including sustainable cleanup and reuse, water quality improvement, chemical safety, and emergency response. These green jobs reduce environmental contamination and build more sustainable futures for communities.

**EPA anticipates issuing the next solicitation for new EWDJT Grants in the spring of 2019.**

Grant Application Resources

EWDJT Grant Recipient Resources

General Resources

Multipurpose Grants

Multipurpose (MP) Grants provide funding to carry out a range of eligible assessment and cleanup activities with a proposed target area. An applicant cannot propose to a serve target area located in distinctly different geographic areas. However, EPA will consider proposals that propose to a serve target area that may include a number of neighboring towns, sister-cities, or a corridor that spans jurisdictional boundaries. The performance period for these grants is five years.

An applicant can apply for up to $800,000 and must demonstrate how grant funds will result in at least:

  • one Phase II environmental site assessment;
  • one brownfield site cleanup; and
  • an overall plan for revitalization of one or more brownfield sites, if there is not already a plan in place.

A MP Grant applicant should have a capacity to conduct a range of eligible activities, for example:

  • Developing inventories of brownfield sites;
  • Prioritizing sites;
  • Conducting community involvement activities;
  • Conducting environmental site assessments;
  • Developing cleanup plans and reuse plans related to brownfield sites;
  • Carry out cleanup activities on brownfield sites owned by the applicant; and
  • Developing an overall plan for revitalization.

At the time of application, a MP Grant applicant must own a site(s), that meets the CERCLA § 101(39) definition of a brownfield site, within their target area where cleanup activities may be conducted. Eligibility determinations for site-specific assessment and cleanup activities will be made after the award of the grant throughout the project period.

MP Grant Recipient Resources

MP Cost Share Requirement

  • MP Grants require a $40,000 cost share, which may be in the form of a contribution of money, labor, material, or services, and must be for eligible and allowable costs.
  • Applicants may not request EPA to waive the cost share requirement.

Grant Application Resources

General Resources

Technical Assistance, Training, and Research Grant Application Resources

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) Brownfields Amendments authorize EPA to provide funding to organizations to conduct research and to provide training and technical assistance to communities to help address their brownfields challenges. Information presented below lists past and current technical assistance and research projects EPA funds and resources that are available to all communities.

Overview of EPA’s Technical Assistance, Training, and Research projects.

Closed Solicitations

Grant Application Resources

State and Tribal Response Program Grants

EPA’s State and Tribal Brownfields Response Program funding, referred to as “Section 128(a)” funding after the section of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The EPA Brownfields Program’s goal is “to empower states[1], tribes[2], communities, and other stakeholders in economic development to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields.” Section 128(a) State and Tribal Response Program funding can be used to create new or to enhance existing environmental response programs. Authorized at $50 million per year and shared among states, tribes and territories, the funding is awarded on an annual basis. The funding can also be used for limited site assessments or cleanups at brownfield sites; for other activities that increase the number of response actions conducted or overseen by a state or tribal response program; to capitalize revolving loan funds for cleanup; to purchase environmental insurance; or to develop other insurance mechanisms for brownfields cleanup activities.

Section 128(a) cooperative agreements are awarded and administered by the EPA regional offices.

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State Voluntary Cleanup Programs

State response programs continue to be at the forefront of brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, as both the public and private markets recognize the responsibilities and opportunities of these response programs in ensuring protective and sustainable cleanups. The increasing number of properties entering into voluntary response programs emphasizes the states' a role in brownfields cleanup.

State Voluntary Agreements

State voluntary cleanup programs (VCP) memoranda of agreement (MOA) are agreements between EPA regional authorities and state environmental programs that promote the coordination and define general roles regarding the cleanup of sites. The agreement can further provide the public with the confidence that EPA and the state agency are working in a coordinated manner. Over time, the use of the MOA as a mechanism to strength EPA and state coordination at contaminated sites evolved.

Some MOAs and RCRA memoranda of understanding (MOUs) have included, among other things, a means to recognize the contribution VCPs or other State programs can make in addressing the cleanup and treatment storage and disposal (TSD) facilities and underground storage tanks regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and PCB contaminated sites subject to remediation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In 2002, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was amended by the Brownfields Amendments that provides states and tribes that enter into MOAs with EPA are eligible for response program grants authorized by CERCLA § 128(a)(1). To learn more about which states have MOAs or MOUs, please go to the regional pages or Brownfields Near You.

Tribal Brownfields Programs

There are 573 federally recognized tribes within the United States. Each tribe is an independent, sovereign nation, responsible for setting standards, making environmental policy, and managing environmental programs for its people. While each tribe faces unique challenges, many share similar environmental legacies.

Environmental issues and responses in Indian country range from:

  • developing basic administrative infrastructure to passing new ordinances and laws;
  • controlling illegal open dumping to developing emergency response plans;
  • abating and removing leaking underground storage tanks to addressing methamphetamine response and cleanup; and
  • addressing air pollution to the cleanup and reuse of contaminated land.

Tribes use Section 128(a) Tribal Response Program funding for a variety of activities. Tribal response programs conduct assessments and provide oversight at properties, create codes and ordinances, develop inventories of properties, and educate their communities about the value of protecting and restoring tribal natural resources and community health., To learn more about tribal program across the country, please go to the regional pages or Brownfields Near You.


[1]The term "state" is defined in this document as defined in CERCLA section 101(27).

[2]The term "Indian tribe" is defined in this document as it is defined in CERCLA section 101(36). Intertribal consortia, as defined in the Federal Register Notice at 67 FR 67181, Nov. 4, 2002, are also eligible for funding under CERCLA section 128(a).


Annual Funding Guidance Resources

General Resources