What is a brownfield?

Brownfield properties are diverse. For example, an abandoned factory, a boarded-up corner gas station, or a run-down mill. In communities across the country, we see brownfields of every shape and size-from a fraction of an acre to hundreds of acres. They are located in urban, suburban, and rural locations. Some properties may have little to no contamination, while others require cleanup to ensure the protection of the community and environmental health. Contamination at these properties, whether perceived or actual, can cause them to lay idle, underused, abandoned, or vacant; this can lead to blight and disinvestment in neighborhoods.

In many cases, brownfield properties remain vacant or idle because of a lack of funding to assess or clean up the property.

Investment & Development Opportunities

Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment is a primary driver for attracting investment and business to communities that may otherwise be overlooked. With environmental uncertainties addressed, property owners face reduced liability and new incentives for property redevelopment. The successful transformation of one property may encourage interest and development in the surrounding area.

Jobs Creation Potential

Brownfields redevelopment also demonstrates significant potential to generate new green jobs for environmental professionals who assess and clean up properties. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) investment in communities through its Brownfields grants helped to leverage more than 54,000 jobs related to property assessment, cleanup, and reuse.

Show All Answers

1. What is a brownfield?
2. How are brownfields identified?
3. What else can citizens do to get involved?
4. What can be done with brownfields?