A Brownfield site is a previously developed property that has been contaminated with a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. For example, a piece of land that used to be a manufacturing factory, gas station, recycling facility or dry cleaning business, is often classified as a Brownfield site.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are about 450,000 Brownfield sites across the states. The remediation efforts for these contaminated sites can be lengthy and complicated, but rewarding when they are done right. The redeveloped properties often serve as a catalyst for forming new communities and fostering economic development.
Brownfield site redevelopment can be complicated, made difficult by residual impacts left behind. Despite the property is not currently being used, there may be a gas tank still buried in the ground or chemicals that were used in dry cleaning contaminating the soil of the surrounding areas.
Also, many companies quickly shy away from a Brownfield site because of the price tag that comes along with the redevelopment project. Yet, Brownfield site developers have many perks like Release of Liability, financial incentives and even reimbursements for partial clean-up initiatives.
When a company is ready to redevelop a Brownfield site, the first step is to find the right location. DLC has identified many Brownfield sites in a variety of locations such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Indiana.
Once the property has been selected, a company has to conduct extensive due diligence of the land to analyze the soil, groundwater and surface water through testing for hazardous substances.
The remediation process can be complex, and it needs to follow the state guidelines. Retailers need to work with a company with specialized expertise in handling remediation because it can help reduce stress and hassle. DLC has handled soil remediation, groundwater remediation and removal process for volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs), above-ground storage tanks (ASTs), underground storage tanks (USTs), asbestos-containing materials (ACM), mold, lead paint, oil-water separators, and more.
Levittown Town Center in Pennsylvania is a great example that shows social and economic benefits of redeveloping a Brownfield site. It was a ground-up redevelopment project, transforming a former enclosed mall into a 463,740 square foot open-air shopping center. The site had a number of environmental concerns including, VOCs, ASTs, more than 30 USTs, oil-water separators, and lead-based paint. The owner of this properly entered the Pennsylvania Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act to complete remediation of the site and we successfully facilitated the remediation process.
Probably no one would have imagined how such a contaminated site could have turned into a busy power center like what it is there today. There’s now a Walmart, Home Depot, Ross and Petsmart, bustling with shoppers. Working with an entrepreneurial spirit is crucial for seizing the opportunity to create values while others see a mere piece of desolate land.
Last but not least, when working with the local Environmental Agency, it’s important to speak up. Build a relationship that’s based on partnership and everything will go much faster and smoother. Remember to question what the consultant is recommending given there are different measures of the remediation. Subsequently, plan appropriate measures to remove identified risks and liabilities.