Atmore City Hall is hosting a Brownfield 101 Workshop on November 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. For an overview of the Brownfields Program, keep reading! Then, we’ll see you at City Hall for even more information so we can all help in rebuilding Alabama.
What Are Brownfields?
Brownfields are properties that are either contaminated, or they’re thought to be contaminated. They’re usually idle, underutilized, or abandoned. For these reasons, developers have been reluctant to commit their resources to fix up brownfield sites in the past—until recently. Federal and state legislation was passed allowing for significant liability protections to “clean hands” entities (not owing the district more than $100), so a lot of these sites have been cleaned up and returned to productive use.
Location and infrastructure both play a big role in the reuse of these brownfield sites. The ideal brownfield site is typically near a major highway with access to existing power, water, and sewer utilities. Existing building can be used for industrial or commercial purposes, and the potential for immediate use of a site can very well offset the cost of waiting while a greenfield site (undeveloped land, usually used for agriculture) is prepared and developed. Once the redevelopment of a brownfield site begins, sites close to it usually experience rejuvenation and growth.
The Alabama Department of Environment Management began a Brownfields Redevelopment and Voluntary Cleanup Program in May of 2001. This program allows for the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites, and grants certain liability protections during the process, including protection from third party lawsuits. Applicants like land developers, cities, counties, the federal government, etc. pay a small fee to enroll eligible sites into the program. About 275 applicants have been enrolled, and over 300 sites have been returned to productive use.
Is Your Site Eligible?
Sites that are not eligible are those that are subject to ADEM’s requirements as hazardous waste treatment storage facilities, Superfund sites found on the National priorities List, and sites currently under an administrative order for cleanup by either ADEM or USEPA. To find out more about the requirements and whether or not your site is eligible, attend our workshop at City Hall on November 14!
At the workshop, you’ll also learn about the enrollment process, and all the things that come after if you’re approved. Help us help Alabama by revitalizing valuable land and buildings! Contact us for more information.