Brownfields 101

Reuse Possibilities for Brownfield Sites

Nearby residents and other local community members benefit when a brownfield site is transformed from an eyesore and safety concern into a new job center, recreational facility, housing or other community amenity. Safely reusing a brownfield site is possible when a redevelopment plan helps guide site assessment and cleanup decisions. Often, the process of assessing and cleaning up a single brownfield site sparks community interest to identify other sites for redevelopment!

Environmental Contaminants Often Found at Brownfield Sites

Brownfield properties are often overlooked for reuse or redevelopment due to fear of environmental contamination. Understanding the types of contaminants present (or potentially present) and how people may be exposed to those contaminants will help a community plan cleanup and site reuse options that limit exposure risk.

Cleaning up Brownfield Sites

Unsafe levels of environmental contamination on a brownfield may result from past or current industrial, commercial, residential, agricultural or recreational uses and practices. Contaminants may be found in soil, water or air. Cleaning up contaminants on a brownfield reduces or eliminates potential health risks to residents, workers, pets and the surrounding environment. How much cleanup is needed depends on the specific contaminants found at the brownfield, the extent of contamination, and how the property will be reused.

Past Property Uses May Result in a Brownfield Site

Looking around your community, what kinds of past land uses do you see? Many commercial, industrial and even some residential properties may be environmentally contaminated due to past uses at the site. People who live, work, go to school, play or exercise on or near a property may not realize it is a brownfield site. They may not know walking or playing on site can cause potential exposure to contaminants.

Anatomy of Brownfields Redevelopment

This revised EPA guide explains the real estate process for cleaning up and redeveloping one or more brownfields sites, including: 

  • Opportunities and Risks Specific to Brownfields Redevelopment
  • Typical Brownfields Redevelopment Scenarios
  • Three Stages of the Brownfields Redevelopment Process
  • Paying for Brownfields Redevelopment
  • Critical Players in Brownfields Real Estate Development
  • Two Brownfields Redevelopment Case Studies

Brownfields Road Map to Understanding Options for Site Investigation and Cleanup

The EPA Brownfields Road Map publication provides a general outline of how to assess and clean up a brownfields site and introduces stakeholders to a range of technology options and available resources.

EPA Brownfield Program Fact Sheet- English/Spanish

Ever wonder why an old building or vacant property in your community has not been redeveloped? Sometimes there is a question about whether the soil has been contaminated by past uses, such as gas stations, dry cleaners or industrial activities. These potentially contaminated properties are known as "brownfields," which must be cleaned before they are redeveloped. Developers and neighbors want to know, "Were chemicals used? Were they spilled? Is it safe to redevelop?" 


Community Transformation through Brownfields Redevelopment

Vacant or contaminated land may not feel or look like a community asset waiting to happen, but with the right knowledge, skills, vision and investment, these properties offer local governments and neighborhoods some of the best opportunities to transform their economies and their futures. The purpose of this white paper is to explain why brownfields redevelopment matters for communities across the U.S., and to provide a brief introduction to the brownfields redevelopment process.

Overview: Federal Brownfields and Land Revitalization Programs

As part of its mission to protect human health and the environment, EPA is dedicated to revitalizing all types of contaminated land and returning properties to productive reuses.  EPA supports a range of land reuse decisions that offer the greatest benefit to local communities—from creating public parks and restoring local ecosystems to mixed-use commercial, residential and industrial redevelopment projects.

La ficha descriptiva de el centro de reciclaje creativo de tierras: El reciclaje de la tierra 101

¿Qué es el reciclaje de la tierra y que son sitios abandonados? ¿Cómo se reutilizan la tierra y por qué es importante? CCLR ha hecho una guía que es corto y fácil para leer y que responde a todas estas preguntas críticas como parte de su nueva ficha descriptiva de reciclaje de la tierra. ¡CCLR es la organización no lucrativa nacional más antiguo pionero el desarrollo de Brownfield y el relleno para promover la salud humana y del medio ambiente y la revitalización económica, pero no podemos hacerlo sin su ayuda!