CCDC Brownfield Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines brownfields as "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." To remedy the situation, the EPA created a competitive grant program that provides funding to eligible entities for assessing and cleaning up properties that would otherwise remain idle. Since its inception in 1995, the federal brownfield program has provided financial and technical tools to support economic redevelopment by eliminating the risks associated with real or perceived contamination.
CCDC began working with EPA and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality staff to find ways the federal brownfields program can be used in downtown Boise redevelopment. As a result of this effort, CCDC received a grant award from EPA to fund educational outreach, inventory, and conduct environmental assessments on properties potentially affected by petroleum-related contamination located within CCDC districts. That grant program ran for three years starting in October 2004. Uncontaminated properties receive a clean bill of health; those with identified contamination can have a specific cleanup program established. Either way, the barriers to infill development will be removed, supporting CCDC objectives.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) were completed on five sites that were identified in the inventory and screening process as suspected of having petroleum contamination. The results of the Phase II ESAs, which included soil and groundwater sampling, indicated that none of the sites contained petroleum chemicals requiring further assessment or cleanup.
In May, 2006 the EPA announced that CCDC was the recipient of a $200,000 grant from its Brownfield Assessment Grant program, one of two grants awarded in Idaho that year. CCDC’s funding is for assessment of properties throughout the downtown urban renewal districts that are suspected of hazardous substances contamination. The 3 year grant was recently extended through September 2010. To date, a Phase I and Phase II ESA has been completed on one site under the hazardous substances grant.
The award to CCDC complements the earlier grant for petroleum-related assessments. Together the two grants form the basis for CCDC’s brownfield program, which focuses on education and outreach to landowners and developers in downtown Boise in an effort to get underperforming downtown properties into productive reuse. One of the major benefits of the program is that it helps promote development in Boise’s denser urban core, where services and utility infrastructure are already in place, rather than increasing pressure to develop into farmland and open space at the edge of the city.
Links and Downloads:
Brownfield Redevelopment Program Fall 2007 Newsletter (1.2MB)
Brownfield Redevelopment Program Summer 2006 Newsletter (1.2 MB)
CCDC Brownfield Redevelopment Program Summer 2005 Newsletter (1.5MB)
Potential Petroleum Substance Property site map
plan for CCDC's 2004 Petroleum Assessment grant (78 KB)
Potential Hazardous Substances Property site map (452KB)
Work plan for CCDC's 2006 Hazardous Substances Assessment grant (455KB)
Dep't. of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) Brownfields Program
Community Reinvestment Pilot Initiative
(Region 10) Brownfields Program
Fall/Winter 2009-10 – Phase I Hazardous Substances Assessments
will be conducted on the final candidate properties.
Brownfield Hazardous Substances Assessment Grant Project Schedule Detail
How Can You Participate in the
CCDC Brownfield Program?
The first step in the process is to create an inventory of potentially eligible sites. To accomplish this, CCDC retained Tetra Tech (formerly Maxim Technologies) of Boise to investigate potential sites through visual reconnaissance and review of historical data and other local data sources. Creating the inventory also relies on landowners’ willingness to bring their properties to CCDC’s attention. If you are a landowner or developer who either has or is aware of a potentially eligible property, please call Scot Oliver at CCDC to obtain more information. The direct benefits of participation in the brownfield project to landowners and developers may include:
• Receiving a no-cost environmental assessment on the property to learn about the probability of contamination existing at the site;
• Gaining insight on factors that may affect property value;
• Dispelling a perceived environmental problem that is holding back investment in a property;
• Taking a proactive approach to satisfying the regulatory requirements associated with potential contamination on a property. By participating in the brownfield and Voluntary Clean-up programs, developers and landowners can enjoy environmental liability protections including covenants not to sue from IDEQ.
• Qualifying for the LEED green building credit for brownfield redevelopment.
In addition, by participating in the program, landowners and developers may have preferred access to low-interest loans to pay for cleanup of any contamination discovered at the site during the assessment phases of the project. EPA recently selected the Reuse Idaho Brownfields Coalition for a $3,000,000 Revolving Loan Fund Grant to help facilitate clean-up of brownfield properties with low interest or no interest loans.
The brownfield program isn’t just about the environment. It’s also and perhaps most importantly about economic revitalization. The brownfield program clears environmental hurdles out of the path of redevelopment, thus promoting reinvestment and reuse of properties. By bringing idled properties in the downtown core back into use, neighboring communities benefit by experiencing restored economic well-being. “Recycled” properties can increase the local tax base, facilitate job growth, utilize existing infrastructure, reduce development pressure on undeveloped “green fields” thus reducing sprawl and improve the environment.
What About Liability for Existing
Concerns about potential liability for contamination may give a landowner cold feet about participating in the program. However, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality encourages landowners to participate in the brownfields program or the state’s Voluntary Clean-up Program rather than addressing contamination issues through the regulatory side of the agency. While IDEQ reserves its regulatory authority consistent with their mission to protect human health and the environment, the brownfield and Voluntary Clean-up programs offer a means to partner with the agency rather than using traditional enforcement methods to address contamination issues. Further, IDEQ can assist a landowner with redevelopment planning options that may allow risk-based cleanup goals that in some cases can actually reduce or eliminate cleanup costs.
What’s the Next Step?
For more information or to tell us about a site that may be
eligible, please contact:
Oliver, Brownfield Project Manager