Brownfields

The Brownfields Site Reuse and Revitalization Program is funded by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Assessment Grants. The first grant was awarded in 2017 to a Coalition led by the Grays Harbor Council of Governments (GHCOG) and supported by the Cities of Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmopolis. That grant was closed out in 2020 and a second grant was awarded to the Coalition, which now also includes the Cities of Elma and Westport. The Program is managed by GHCOG with support from an environmental consulting team led by Stantec Consulting Services Inc. The grants will fund Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) and other cleanup/reuse activities at publicly and privately-owned brownfield sites over up to a three-year period or until the grant funds are expended (approximately through October of 2023).


Brownfields Site Reuse & Revitalization Program Overview

Vision: Revitalize vacant and underutilized (“brownfield”) properties throughout Grays Harbor County to provide benefits to the community, including environmental restoration, job creation, increased property values, and reduced health risks.

Mission: Use EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant funding to inventory and prioritize brownfield sites for redevelopment, assess existing site conditions, and plan for cleanup and reuse of priority sites throughout our community.

Guiding Principles:

  • Prioritize use of grant funds for sites that will attract investors and become a catalyst for new employment opportunities and a sustainable job base.
  • Promote infill development that maximizes use of existing space, infrastructure and utilities.
  • Remove redevelopment barriers by addressing unknown site conditions and creating shovel ready sites.
  • Invest in sites that will generate public and private revenue.
  • Transform blighted areas into thriving neighborhoods.
  • Protect public health and the environment.
  • Promote public participation and input on priority redevelopment areas and sites.

Program Background

The EPA defines brownfields as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential [i.e. perceived] presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

Environmental impacts from historic industrial operations and commercial activities have resulted in vacant and underutilized brownfield properties. Brownfields include derelict industrial sites along rail corridors, former dry cleaners and auto-related businesses in aging commercial corridors, and other vacant and underutilized commercial and industrial properties. Under contract with GHCOG, Stantec will assess environmental liabilities and develop cleanup/reuse plans to catalyze redevelopment throughout the community.

What is a brownfield?

Brownfields are vacant and underutilized properties previously used for industrial or commercial activities that may have resulted in contamination from petroleum or hazardous substances, but can be cleaned up and reused.

What are the benefits of brownfield redevelopment?

Property owners, businesses and developers who cleanup and reuse brownfields provide benefits to themselves and their communities, including:

  • Removing unknowns regarding site conditions that might hold up a sale or redevelopment.
  • Increasing return from the property by making it more valuable and marketable.
  • Contributing to economic prosperity and environmental restoration in the community.
  • Making neighborhoods safer and healthier.
  • Avoiding actions by regulatory agencies that may impose penalties and costly cleanups.
  • Reducing the potential that adjacent properties could be impacting their property (and vice versa).

What will grant funds be used for?

Grant funding can be used to inventory, assess, and conduct cleanup/reuse planning for priority sites. Additional information is included on the Property Owner Fact Sheets and Process Guide provided in the Resources section at the bottom of the page.

What sites are eligible for grant funds?

Sites eligible for grant funded activities include private- or public-owned properties with known or suspected contamination and properties where sale, reuse, or redevelopment is planned. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. Eligible sites may include (but are not limited to):

  • Former manufacturing and industrial sites (e.g. shuttered mills and factories, old tank farms, former canneries, etc.)
  • Vacant or underutilized warehouses and commercial facilities (e.g. aging strip malls)
  • Vacant gas stations and auto repair shops
  • Former dry cleaners
  • Old rail yards and truck depots
  • Salvage yards, landfills and illegal dumping sites
  • Old buildings with asbestos or lead-based paint

Ineligible sites include those on the EPA National Priority “Superfund” List or targeted for any federal or state enforcement action.

What are the program requirements?

Participation is entirely voluntary and the property owner must provide site access for assessment activities. To qualify for grant funding, sites must meet certain eligibility requirements (described above). If you are interested in taking advantage of the opportunity to use grant funding on your site and are unsure whether or not it meets eligibility requirements (described in the materials provided in the Resources section), please contact Vicki Cummings (vcummings@ghcog.org or 360-537-4386) for additional information.

For additional information, please refer to the Fact Sheets and other materials provided in the Resources section.

How do I nominate sites for use of grant funding?

Is there a site in your neighborhood or one that you own that you think would benefit from the EPA funding assistance? Property owners and community members are encouraged to nominate sites for use of grant funds by completing a Site Nomination Form (provided in the Resources section).

After a Site Nomination Form has been submitted by the property owner/representative, an eligibility determination request will be submitted to EPA on the owner’s behalf requesting approval for use of grant funding. If approved, the property owner will work with the environmental consultant (Stantec) to coordinate the environmental site assessment (ESA) and/or related activities. The owner will receive a report with findings and recommendations.


Resources


Disclaimer: Though this project has been funded wholly or in part by the EPA, the contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA