A brownfields site is a vacant or underutilized property where redevelopment or reuse is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination.
Eligible sites may include former gas stations, mine sites, timber mill sites, bulk fuel storage and distribution sites, landfills, and generally any commercial or industrial site that may be contaminated with hazardous substances.
Not all sites are eligible for brownfields determination:
- Properties listed on EPA’s National Priorities List.
- Sites that are the subject of an ongoing state or federal enforcement action related to site cleanup.
- Properties where the contamination is known to present a high risk to public health.
- Properties subject to an ongoing Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) removal action.
- Properties subject to enforcement under certain federal hazardous waste laws.
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Brownfields revitalization is a process by which contamination is addressed so that the sites can be redeveloped. Some brownfields properties are usable but have not been targeted for redevelopment. Most, however, have some form of contamination that needs to be addressed before the land can be used.
Cleanup efforts can include actively removing contaminants or restricting certain uses like extraction of ground water or excavation restrictions.
Revitalization of brownfields properties can reduce the release of harmful contaminants into the environment, improve public health, and support plant and animal life. Brownfields development also ensures that land is fully utilized rather than developing undisturbed land.
Developing brownfields can also increase property values by improving neighborhoods, supporting community development, spurring job creation, and providing land resources for projects like parks or community gardens.
|Albion||Albion Normal School|
After assessments were conducted, cleanup is complete. The property has been purchased and is open for business. The site currently hosts family reunions.
This new affordable and workforce housing development opened on October 29, 2019. This five-story, 134-unit apartment complex was a success because of the dedication by Northwest Integrity Housing Co., The Pacific Companies, and Thomas Development Co. The project cost $28 million and is home to income-eligible individuals and families. There are 72 one-bedroom units, 55 two-bedroom units, and 7 three-bedroom units. One hundred and twenty-one units are subsidized.
|Boise||American Linen Property|
An assessment was conducted at the site, and it was concluded that there is no unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. The site has been purchased, and redevelopment is moving ahead.
|Boise||Jack’s Urban Meeting Place|
To assist with contingency planning for proper soil and water management during construction activities, an assessment was conducted on areas proposed for excavation and human occupancy. J.R. Simplot Company corporate headquarters and a creative center and community meeting place are being built on the site. The project is set for completion in 2015.
|Boise||Pre Funk Beer Bar|
This property was a gas and service station for 30 years. Site assessments and a risk evaluation found a risk to human health for certain site conditions and property uses. Results revealed that additional sampling would be needed if the location were to be developed for residential use. The beer bar and growler fill station opened in 2013.
|Boise||Barber Wastewater Lagoons|
Multiple site investigations were conducted on the property. The Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands purchased the property and hopes to make the site an open space/park space for public use.
|Burley||Ray’s Car Care|
An assessment revealed only a stigma of contamination and no contaminants. The property was sold and is now a car dealership.
|Canyon||Former Mahaffey Oil|
Petroleum contamination was found at the property boundary in soils and ground water but not in the downgradient, offsite wells. Cleanup is complete. The land was purchased by onion packing and distributor, J.C. Watson Packing.
|Cascade||Boise Cascade Mill, South 40-Acre Log Yard|
An environmental site assessment was conducted and soil samples collected. Cleanup, which began in late 2004, is complete. The former mill property has been transformed into an area of recreational opportunities, including a whitewater park, future recreation center, and walking and biking trails.
|Custer County||Based on the assessment reports for the site, it was concluded that additional risk evaluation efforts were needed to make a final determination regarding the risks associated with the site. The Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation purchased the properties to develop Idaho’s newest state park. Some of the sites have been redeveloped and are open for public use. Two others will begin cleanup during the 2012 field season.|
|Emmett||Jim’s Amoco Service|
A ground penetrating radar survey and a site assessment were conducted, followed by additional sampling and development of a risk assessment. The site is currently for sale.
|Idaho Falls||Snake River Animal Shelter|
A limited environmental assessement was conducted, and the results were favorable. Development of the animal shelter facility will begin in 2013.
|McCall||McCall Riverside Park|
Assessments were conducted at the site, and no contamination was discovered. The site is ready for redevelopment.
A site assessment was conducted, and results confirmed that the property was ready for revitalization. Demolition of the creamery was completed in November 2006, and the site was redeveloped into Meridian City Hall, which is a $25 million LEED certified building complex.
Site assessments were conducted and results revealed ground water petroleum contamination. A remediation plan was approved in May 2011, and improvements were made to the building and property.
To propose a property for consideration of a brownfields assessment, complete and submit a Proposed Brownfield Site form via email, fax, or mail.
For planning and development purposes, it is helpful for communities to complete their own brownfields inventories by identifying vacant abandoned, and/or underutilized properties due to perceived or actual contamination that could be redeveloped to produce jobs, generate revenue, or support community open spaces.
After the properties are identified, communities may choose properties to take further action by requesting and possibly securing environmental assessment and/or cleanup funds (if necessary) from DEQ and/or EPA, often at no cost to the applicant. Once environmental or potential environmental issues have been resolved, the property will be ready for redevelopment.