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Brownfield Projects


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a brownfield as "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."


Brownfields are often abandoned, closed or under-used industrial or commercial facilities, such as an abandoned factory in a town's former industrial section or a closed commercial building or warehouse in a suburban setting.



The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 made the purchaser of any real property liable for any contaminants on this property. CERCLA's retroactive liability has made the performance of an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) a practical necessity for any potential buyer of property, who naturally does not want to assume liability for the cleanup of any contaminants found there.


Because CERCLA mandated that the purchasers of property are now liable for any contamination on this property regardless of when they acquired the site, it also created the need for a method to determine whether or not a property was contaminated before any purchase of real estate was completed. CERCLA also provided an escape from liability called the “innocent landowner defense”, but this defense could only be used to escape liability if “appropriate due diligence” was conducted prior to the acquisition of the property. That why a purchaser should always conduct a thorough ESA.


There are many benefits of developing a brownfield site:


  • Cleans up past issues for future safe and productive uses

  • Financial Incentives:

    • USEPA grants funds, which assists to achieve a comprehensive goal. 

    • Tax Incentive Funding (TIF)

  • Redevelopment of a property can provide jobs to the community

  • Restoring land for reuse benefits the community

  • Broad-based community support, which translates into political support


How Hygieneering Can Help


Hygieneering’s ESA is a multi-step process:

  1. Phase I of an ESA includes research on current and former uses of the land, collection of all documents relevant to the property, and a non-invasive inspection of the site to determine the possibility of contamination on the property. The goal of a Phase 1 ESA is to determine if there is anything on the site that will require further investigation. 

  2. Phase 2 ESA is to resolve the issues presented by the Phase 1 study and, if present, delineate the nature and extent of any contamination on the property. This is a much more invasive process than the Phase 1 ESA and can include excavation, drilling, as well as sampling and analysis of soil and groundwater.

  3. The discovery of contamination on the property may trigger the need to for a Phase 3 ESA or detailed plan for the remediation of the site.


Not only will a Hygieneering’s Environmental Site Assessment evaluate your property’s condition, we can assemble a team for the redevelopment of the property.  To receive a free quote for an Environmental Site Assessment at your facility or for further information about our other environmental health and safety services, please contact our Director of Environmental Services, Bob Anderson using the info below.


For more information, click to contact Bob Anderson via email or call 630-654-2550.

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