Creating a Successful Brownfield Program

September 24, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded millions of dollars in Brownfield grant funds to support redevelopment through environmental assessment and remediation in communities across the nation. Since inception of the EPA Brownfield Program in 1995, Terracon has been partnering with communities to achieve their revitalization goals by integrating the environment, community, and redevelopment through EPA Brownfield Grant applications and project implementation.

Brownfield properties can have either real or perceived contamination, and some may need remediation due to the presence of a contaminant. The positive impact of brownfield grant funding for a community, of any size, can be significant. By taking unused or blighted properties and transforming them into new business opportunities, housing, or recreational areas, communities become renewed. The local economy can benefit from job creation, an increase in tax base, and improved safety by eliminating derelict buildings.

The EPA Brownfield Program offers several grants with varying roles and funding amounts. Among the most common are the Community-wide Assessment Grant, which funds Environmental Site Assessments, and the Cleanup Grant, which focuses on remediation. In addition, grants can fund community outreach, facilitation of reporting requirements, and property re-use planning. Although the grant application process is highly competitive –– your community application has a much stronger chance at success with the help of a skilled brownfields consultant.

Brownfields funding success rate

How can your community access the program?

Terracon’s team helps communities of all sizes to develop and maintain a successful brownfield program. Our local project managers can walk your community through every step of the process.

Establish your brownfields program

Establishing a program prior to submitting an application allows communities to develop core components for a successful application. You do not need federal funding to establish a brownfield program or to focus on how redevelopment can help your community.

Engage your residents

How does a brownfields program fit into your community? Terracon’s local project managers help communities organize and lead community outreach activities which identify what the residents want. We help determine if there are community resources missing that can be supported through a brownfield grant, such as grocery stores or parks.

Apply for an EPA Brownfields grant

Historically, the yearly grant guidelines are published in the fall, with awards announced in the spring of the following year. The guidelines typically allow an average of 60 days to submit the grant application for EPA review. With a short submission period, it is important to be prepared in advance to meet the deadline. Terracon’s local project managers help communities to be ready for this quick turnaround and work with their clients in a collaborative manner to write the grant application.

Accept the terms and conditions of the grant funding

Once you are selected for a brownfield grant, the EPA requires the grantee to accept the terms and conditions of the grant by creating a Grant Work Plan and completing forms prior to formally awarding the grant funds. Terracon’s local project managers help their clients by drafting the Work Plan and by completing all forms for their review prior to submittal to the EPA.

Implement the project

As a federal government program, the EPA requires quarterly reporting and for the grantee to meet the necessary criteria for program compliance within the allotted three-year grant period. It is imperative that a community work with a trusted partner, who has experience in addressing the technical components, as well as providing programmatic support.

The Terracon team provides our clients with property-specific solutions and support in implementing their Brownfield program. We are driven to help to help our clients build sustainable redevelopment opportunities on previously contaminated properties, which builds safer and healthier communities.

Belinda Richard is Terracon’s national brownfields program manager. She has 22 years of environmental experience, with the last 15 years dedicated to working in the Brownfields Program.

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