Frequently Asked Questions
What are brownfields?
A brownfield is a property
that has been abandoned or is underused because of environmental contamination
or the fear of such contamination.
the purpose of this Brownfield Assessment grant project?
The purpose of
this grant is to assess the level and nature of environmental contamination at
selected brownfield sites and conduct planning for the cleanup and reuse of the
properties. By assessing contaminated properties in Dunn, the City is
quantifying the risks involved in redeveloping the properties to encourage
property owners and developers to cleanup the sites and put them back into
the EPA's involvement?
The Brownfield Assessment Project is NOT a regulatory program. These projects
are a mechanism/tool to promote economic development. EPA involvement is
typically limited to review of work plans and general program oversight.
How does a community benefit from
Brownfield redevelopment can
help a community in many ways. Many brownfield sites are in unattractive,
economically depressed parts of a neighborhood. Cleanup and redevelopment of
the sites can encourage higher property values and create jobs, as well as
positively impact the local economy by creating a safer, healthier urban space
to house businesses and residences.
What is a
Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment?
The primary goal for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment activity is to
make an “appropriate inquiry into previous ownership and use of the property
consistent with good commercial or customary practice.” A Phase I Environmental
Site Assessment is a vital part of commercial and industrial property
transactions where potential liability is a concern and is most often required
by lenders and attorneys prior to finalizing a real estate transaction. Phase I
Environmental Site Assessments are conducted according to guidelines
established in the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) Standard
Practice for Environmental Site Assessment (E 1527) and EPA’s All Appropriate
Inquiries Rule. There are four primary components to the Phase I Environmental
Site Assessment: Records Review, Site Reconnaissance, Interviews, and Report
Preparation. The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report will include a
statement as to evidence of recognized environmental conditions. Phase I
Environmental Site Assessments do not include sampling or chemical analysis of
soil, groundwater or other media. Where concerns are identified,
recommendations for Phase II Environmental Site Assessment activity are
generally included in the report.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessments include site-specific
sampling and chemical analyses to characterize the occurrence, distribution,
nature and extent of hazardous compounds in soil and groundwater at a property.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessments generally provide the necessary
information needed to determine if cleanup activities are warranted on the
If I am a
property owner and I participate what happens if environmental contamination is
If your property has environmental contamination, being selected by the
Brownfield project provides you one of the best possible working scenarios with
the EPA. If environmental contamination is found, the project may assist with
development of cleanup and redevelopment plans. The EPA Brownfields Assessment
Program is NOT a regulatory program. In most cases those parties who are deemed
responsible for cleanup activities and are voluntarily participating in the EPA
Brownfield Program are not required to complete the cleanup activities as part
of the program. In rare cases, where contamination is deemed to be an imminent
threat to human health and the environment, then EPA may require immediate
action to address the contamination.
pay for the cleanup if contamination is found?
How can I get involved?
The existing Brownfields project cannot pay for cleanup; the funds can only be
used for environmental site assessments and cleanup/redevelopment planning. EPA
offers separate cleanup grants to assist with cleanup activities. These cleanup
grants are available only to local governments and non-profit organizations.
However, EPA does offer low interest loans to private property owners for the
cleanup of contamination. Unless the property is owned by a local government or
non-profit organization, the private sector (property owner) typically takes
the lead and is responsible for most environmental cleanup projects. The
program does not require a potential seller or buyer to commit to performing
prohibitively expensive cleanup.
The City of Dunn is actively seeking the involvement of community partners and
citizens in the implementation of the EPA Brownfields Assessment Project. There
are several ways to get involved with this initiative: 1) Identify Sites - Tell
the City of any brownfield sites in the area you know about; 2) Help Prioritize
Sites - Let the City know what brownfield sites you feel are most important for
the community to redevelop; 3) Assist in Planning - Share your vision for what
should happen at the high-priority sites and share information on past uses of
properties with planners and environmental consultants; and 4) Stay Informed -
Keep up to date on project activities. These can be accomplished by visiting
the project web site and attending scheduled community meetings.