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BCRC Receives $300,000 for Brownfield Redevelopment Program

The BCRC Brownfields Redevelopment Program recently received a $300,000 Brownfield Assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify and study potentially contaminated sites in Bennington County. The programís purpose is to identify properties that are vacant or underutilized because of known or perceived contamination, to conduct environmental assessments, and to develop remediation and re-use plans that will lead to redevelopment that meets identified community objectives. $200,000 will target sites potentially impacted by hazardous substances, while $100,000 will target sites with potential petroleum impacts.

A typical project begins with a Phase 1 environmental site assessment (ESA) where environmental professionals review state and federal records associated with the site. A site visit and interviews are also conducted during the Phase 1 ESA. Consultants document any Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs), which might include stained surfaces, stressed or dead vegetation, leaking containers and/or historic site uses that may be evidence of, or have led to past, present or the material threat of future hazardous substance or petroleum releases. The Phase 1 ESA may lead to a finding of no RECs or the recommendation of a Phase 2 ESA to further investigate the site. Phase 1 reports afford the prospective purchaser with certain federal liability protections if specific conditions are met. If a Phase 1 ESA discovers no RECs to the satisfaction of all parties, the property transaction may continue to the next step without needing to complete a Phase 2 ESA.

A Phase 2 ESA would include on-site environmental investigations that focus on addressing RECs identified during the Phase 1 ESA and may also include additional information to address gaps in data discovered during the Phase 1. Most often, soil borings are completed and ground water monitoring wells are installed. Soils, ground water and samples of materials collected from the site are sent off for lab analysis, although sometimes environmental samples can be assessed in the field. Once the types, levels and extent of contamination are identified, a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) will be prepared to remediate the site, to remove or isolate potential dangers to society and various environmental receptors such as surface or ground water. The CAP is typically written to accommodate a proposed re-use of the site and will become part of the siteís land record. Quite often, a CAP is necessary in order for a potential purchaser to acquire required financing.

The BCRC assessment grants cover 100% of the costs associated with Phase 1 ESAs, Phase 2 ESAs and the preparation of Corrective Action Plans. Although our assessment grants canít be utilized to cover the costs associated with site cleanup, some property owners associated with our program have applied for and received low interest loans to help pay for this costly work. Please contact Jim Henderson if you would like to further discuss this program of the BCRC.