Updates from the Field – Brownfields

What is a brownfield?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines a brownfield as a property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

What are the benefits of redeveloping brownfields sites?

There are many reasons to develop Brownfields. Every property should be put to its highest and best use. You can preserve available greenfields by reusing brownfields and address blight or public safety concerns. It makes financial sense because there is grant money available for assessment, cleanup etc. Existing infrastructure can minimize the cost of reuse and liability protection can be provided. With community input, you can find a use that meets current needs while preserving community character and history. Also, you can increase the local tax base and facilitate job growth.

How many brownfields projects has Metric been working on in the last three years?

For Brownfields projects, Metric has completed 26 investigations and two reuse planning projects.

What does the average brownfields redevelopment timeline look like?

The length of a project depends on the extent of the environmental concerns. A project may need only a Phase I ESA or the home state’s equivalent of a Comfort/Site Status letter. With governmental agency review, that process could be complete in 4-6 months. Additional investigations may add another 6 months to two or more years. To minimize the time involved, Metric helps clients determine a focus for the investigation and gather the right information early.

What can you tell us about the current progress on MACOG and Louisville Jefferson County brownfields sites?

Louisville is off to a good start with three studies complete in the first quarter of work.  The MACOG project is over 70% complete and is on target to meet all of the grant requirements. Sites in Plymouth and South Bend, Indiana are currently being developed by their new owners.

What kinds of things can brownfields sites be turned into in the areas we are working in right now?

Some of the sites may be turned into parks, or to fill housing needs. Some sites will house commercial spaces that provide opportunities for individuals and small or large businesses.

Author: Patricia Likins I Senior Project Manager, Assessment and Remediation
Author: Patricia Likins I Senior Project Manager, Assessment and Remediation