What are Brownfields?

Springfield, like all communities, has properties that are abandoned, under-used or blighted. These properties, or Brownfields, are everywhere, in both urban and rural areas. They come in all sizes, a Brownfield property can be:
  • The old former lumberyard
  • The corner feed mill abandoned in the 1950s
  • The vacant city lot where the old factory burned down when "Dad was a kid"
Samples taken from the soil of local brownfields
Property Potential
Many properties suffer from the perception of environmental problems. In reality, most have excellent business locations, existing infrastructure and access to transportation. Due to fear of the unknown, buyers, lenders and developers pass over these properties for those appearing "less risky." Merely the fear of environmental contamination and regulatory intervention has been enough to hinder or stop redevelopment of these once vital community areas.

EPA Assistance
Assessment Demonstration Grants from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aid in removing fear by helping communities identify and measure their Brownfields. Using environmental testing, a site can be properly identified as having actual environmental concerns or merely the perception of such. Once the true scope of any environmental issues is determined, communities can deal with problems.
men and crane removing large underground fuel tank

One of the EPA's duties is enforcement of laws which help protect public health and the environment. However, since 1995, EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative has also offered proactive help to communities and business. This is demonstrated by EPA grants which help sort the numerous Brownfields properties from those very few that require regulatory intervention. These grants help communities make environmental restoration a manageable part of local redevelopment, separate and complimentary to EPA's enforcement mission.
Brownfield Defined
"...real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant." - Public Law 107-118 (H.R. 2869) - "Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act", January 11, 2002.
Large tank removed from the College Street project.