What is a brownfield?
What is the EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant?
A brownfield is a property where the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. Usually, a brownfield is not a site where you will find bubbling chemicals oozing out of the ground! In fact, most brownfield sites in Florida are former gas stations and dry cleaning businesses, where small amounts of contaminants were released.
In 2015, the City of Jacksonville received a $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fund the Jacksonville Brownfields Assessment Program. $200,000 of the grant is for conducting environmental site assessments at brownfield sites contaminated by hazardous substances. The other $200,000 in funding must be used to assess sites contaminated by petroleum. The project must be completed by September 30, 2018.
What are the missions of the Brownfields Assessment Program?
What are the goals of the Brownfields Assessment Program?
- To develop a program for the identification, assessment, and redevelopment of brownfield sites.
- To raise awareness of business owners, developers, landowners, and lenders regarding brownfield grant eligibility.
- To bring citizens, environmental regulatory agencies, consultants, developers, landowners, and lenders to the table to redevelop brownfield sites.
- To promote community input on redevelopment initiatives.
What are "environmental site assessments"?
- Protecting the Environment: addressing brownfields to promote the health and well being of the community and environment.
- Promoting Partnerships: enhancing collaboration and communication essential to facilitate brownfields cleanup and reuse.
- Strengthening the Marketplace: providing financial and technical assistance to bolster the private market.
- Sustaining Reuse: redeveloping brownfields to enhance a community’s long-term quality of life.
The EPA's grant funding will pay for the City's environmental contractor to perform two different types of environmental site assessments (ESA): a Phase I ESA and a Phase II ESA.
A Phase I ESA
involves a review of environmental records, a visual site inspection, and interviews with owners, occupants, neighbors and local government officials. A Phase I ESA is conducted to determine whether there is a likelihood of contamination on the site. The Phase I ESA usually does not involve "digging in the ground" and there is no sampling, testing and analysis involved.
If a Phase I ESA identifies potential contamination of the site by hazardous substances or petroleum, a Phase II ESA
may be conducted. The Phase II ESA includes sampling and laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of hazardous materials. Depending on the results of the samples, the Phase II ESA should outline additional site investigation needs, and potential remedial actions that may be required to clean up the property.
Who will be doing the environmental site assessments?
The City has hired Terracon Consultants, Inc. to complete the ESAs carried out under the Jacksonville Brownfields Assessment Program. Terracon is an internationally-recognized company that has completed more than 180 brownfields projects authorized by EPA grant funding. The staff in Terracon's office here in Jacksonville will be managing and supervising all environmental site assessments carried out under this program.
What properties are eligible under the EPA grant?
Grant funding will pay for assessments for properties whose owners are planning on cleaning up the site, if necessary, and then redeveloping the property into a new commercial, business or recreational opportunity. Unfortunately, the grant cannot be used to conduct assessments on individual residential sites with no plans for redevelopment.
Where will the environmental site assessments be done?
The EPA grant allows ESAs to be carried out in Springfield, Eastside, Lavilla, Downtown, North Riverside, Brooklyn, Brentwood and Northshore.
How many environmental site assessments will be done?
The grant has funding for the City's environmental contractor to conduct 20 Phase I ESAs and six (6) Phase II ESAs.