From small, boarded-up gas stations to abandoned factories, variously sized brownfields comprise familiar parts of the landscape across the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates more than 450,000 brownfields are situated throughout remote and urban settings. Often in economically distressed communities, the proximity of these potentially hazardous sites places residents and the environment at risk and gradually spreads economic blight to adjacent community blocks.
Compared to the U.S. population as a whole, communities surrounding brownfields report larger low-income, linguistically isolated minority populations less likely to obtain a high school education, according to EPA reports. Such residents benefit directly from sustainable brownfield redevelopment and enjoy significant environmental and economic advantages.
Below, we discuss how brownfield site remediation benefits community members' quality of life and why you need an expert to help determine the best reuse possibilities for your community.
Community engagement plays a critical part in brownfield site remediation. Under an EPA brownfields grant, community participation and stakeholder involvement are vital for envisioning long-term uses of redeveloped brownfields. Effective collaboration among those who best understand land revitalization challenges – residents, community leaders, business owners, developers, elected officials and others – can ensure a sustainable and successful brownfield redevelopment project.
The benefits of brownfield site remediation extend beyond initial contaminant removal. Community members report an overall improvement in quality of life as site remediation goals align with local economic, infrastructure, social and environmental conditions. Some significant effects of brownfield redevelopment on a community are:
Brownfield sites deemed unsuitable for building developments can be regenerated into community solar farms. Such renewable sources help provide access to affordable power for near-site low-income communities. For example, the Danville solar system is a 2.62 MW solar project constructed on a former Illinois brownfield site.
Community participation drives brownfield redevelopment. However, partnering with industry experts gives municipal leaders and developers extra support to successfully complete such remediation projects. Revitalization safeguards residents' health and safety and allows everyone to realize the long-term community vision for reusing brownfield sites.
At Fehr Graham, our multidisciplinary team of experts is committed to improving a community's quality of life through successful brownfield site remediation projects. From providing customized environmental site assessments, due diligence reports, remediation plans and waste management to securing funds for brownfield cleanups, we help ensure community members enjoy the long-term redevelopment goals for brownfield site reuse. Some of our projects include:
Whether a project is on a small private property or a former industrial complex, our team of experts is always available to assist municipal leaders and developers through each stage of the brownfield cleanup process and ensure successful outcomes.