Government

EPA Region 4 Brownfields Site Assessment Program Grant

The EPA has selected the City of Aiken for two brownfields assessment grants. As we enter our 3rd year with this program the new community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct nine Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct five Phase I and two Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds of both types will be used to inventory and prioritize brownfield sites, develop four cleanup plans and a community involvement plan, and conduct community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Downtown and Northside communities of Aiken.

EPA Brownfields Program

EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is 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. The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002, as amended by the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2018, was passed to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants, and job training grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.

Benefits of Assessment

Tax Incentives:

Many States offer tax credits or other incentives for redevelopers who enter into Voluntary Cleanup Programs (VCPs). Contact your State environmental agency for exact details.

Boost Property Values:

Residential properties near brownfields sites that have been addressed have an estimated 5-13% increase in property values.

Liability Protection:

ASTM E1527-13 Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) meet the “All Appropriate Inquiries” standard, which can provide innocent landowners, contiguous property owners, or bona fide prospective purchasers with protection from potential liability under Superfund.

Jump-start Redevelopment

Reuse of brownfields revitalizes communities, and boosts economic activity by creating jobs and stimulating outside investment. Approximately $18 in outside funds are lev- eraged for every dollar expended by the EPA brownfields program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I assess my site?

Knowledge about the environmental conditions is an important factor in setting the value for a piece of real estate—sellers want to receive a fair price, but potential purchasers may be unwilling to risk investment in properties without knowing the environmental issues. However, Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) can cost thousands of dollars.

EPA’s program provides funding to perform environmental assessments at your property. This saves property owners the out-of-pocket assessment costs while still providing you the benefit of identifying or alleviating any concerns at your site.

What happens under Phase I and Phase II assessment?

Phase I ESAs consist of a records search, site history, and visual inspection of a property to identify any recognized environmental conditions (RECs).

If RECs are discovered, a Phase II ESA may be recommended, which involves field sampling of soil, groundwater or other media.

What are my responsibilities during assessment?

Landowners may be asked to participate by providing information on the site’s history. Qualified Environmental Professionals will also need access to the site while they conduct the assessment—this may involve visual inspections and/or field sampling.

What if contamination is discovered?

EPA’s assessment program can help define and delineate the extent of contamination, and provide cleanup planning. Contaminated sites may be eligible for enrollment in brownfields agreements under State Voluntary Cleanup Programs, (VCPs), which are typically held to a site-specific cleanup standard based on planned future use.

I own the site but did not cause the contamination. I may wish to redevelop the site or sell to someone else-can I take part in this process?

EPA’s assessment program can help protect innocent landowners, contiguous property owners, and bona fide prospective purchasers from Superfund liability by using a Phase I ESA to meet the All Appropriate Inquiries (“due diligence”) requirement. You may also qualify for VCP agreements with your State that contain a covenant not-to-sue.

What if I caused or contributed to the contamination at the site?

EPA’s program does not relieve a responsible party’s past or future site liability. However, the site may still be eligible for EPA funding that can alleviate the owner’s costs for site assessment and reuse planning.

For more information, questions, or comments please contact the following:

Joy C. Lester, MPA
Capital Projects Sales Tax Administrator
City of Aiken
214 Park Avenue, SW
Aiken, South Carolina 29801
803-643-2123
Contact Form

Christopher Bartley
Senior Scientist
Terracon
521 Clemson Road
Columbia, SC 29229
803-212-0052
cbbartley@terracon.com

For further information, including specific grant contacts, additional grant information, brownfields news and events, and publications and links, visit the EPA Brownfields Web site (http://www.epa.gov/brownfields).

EPA Region 4 Brownfields Team
(404) 562-8604

Aiken Site Application Form
https://edoc.cityofaikensc.gov/WebLink/DocView.aspx?id=530426&dbid=0&repo=City-of-Aiken-LF

Aiken Site Suggestion Application Form
https://edoc.cityofaikensc.gov/WebLink/DocView.aspx?id=530426&dbid=0&repo=City-of-Aiken-LF

EPA Region 4 Brownfields Web site
https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-and-land-revitalization-activities-near-you

Anatomy of Brownfields Redevelopment
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/anat_bf_redev_101106.pdf

Brownfields: Properties With A New Purpose
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-06/documents/bf_booklet.pdf