Brownfields - 128a & 104k
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines brownfield land as property where the reuse may be complicated by the presence of hazardous materials. Brownfields can be abandoned gas stations, dry cleaning establishments, factories, mills, or foundries. At a smaller scale, they can be dry cleaners, vacant lots, or gas stations. Sites where contamination is merely perceived, and site conditions are unknown, are still considered brownfields. Brownfields do not include Superfund sites. Brownfields affect nearly every town or village, large and small. Brownfields are multi-disciplinary in nature (not an environment-only issue).
- Section 128(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), as amended, authorizes a noncompetitive $50 million grant program to establish and enhance state and tribal response programs. CERCLA section 128(a) response program grants are funded with categorical State and Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) appropriations. Section 128(a) cooperative agreements are awarded and administered by the EPA regional offices. Generally, these response programs address the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of brownfields sites and other sites with actual or perceived contamination. (https://www.epa.gov)
104k Brownfields (Hazardous Substances & Petroleum)
- Assessment grants provide funding for a grant recipient to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning and community involvement related to brownfields sites. An eligible entity may apply for up to $200,000 to assess a site contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum) and up to $200,000 to address a site contaminated by petroleum.
What is an Environmental Site Assessment?
Some prospective investors may look for a commercial or private property to purchase, whether it be for economic use or simply to build a home. However, these properties may have been previously used for commercial and industrial purposes. Over time, not knowingly aware that the property may have been contaminated due to industrial operations in the past. With no knowledge of the environmental issues, Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) have been developed to look into those environmental issues that are associated with the property. Environmental Site Assessments can be very helpful in minimizing risks and costs when looking into a property to purchase. Environmental Site Assessments are done in two phases: Phase I (Non-Intrusive) and Phase II (Intrusive).
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
A Phase I ESA consists of non-intrusive site inspections and reviewing of records, and interviews with owners, local government officials, occupants and neighbors. These environmental site assessments are conducted by an Environmental Professional trained and knowledgeable of the appropriate standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). In respect to the ASTM Standards, to ensure a quality assessment of the site, reviewing of records, interviews and site inspection are done over a period of time (30-60 Days). With the assessment done, this could determine whether there's contamination present at the site, and this would lead to conducting a Phase II ESA.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment
A Phase I ESA has determined there is a potential contamination at the site by hazardous substances and/or petroleum, this paves way to a Phase II ESA. Since a Phase I ESA is non-intrusive, a Phase II ESA is intrusive and involves sampling, analysis to confirm the extent of the contamination and what type of contaminants are present within the subject site. Some types of tests include the following:
- Soil samples;
- Water samples;
- Groundwater monitoring;
- Drum sampling
With the various types of tests, and depending on the results from laboratory analysis, this can determine the remedial actions to clean up the contaminated property. After a cleanup action has been done, confirmation sampling is taken at the site again to determine whether the contamination is below our CNMI Pacific Basin Environmental Screening Levels (ESLs) and deemed safe.
For more information regarding previous Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments done on Brownfield sites contaminated by petroleum and/or hazardous substances, please check out the Public Record. (http://cnmideqpublicrecord.weebly.com).
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