EPA helps communities revitalize contaminated sites

We help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program provide communities with technical assistance to assess, clean up, and sustainably reuse contaminated properties across the U.S.

RESULTS AT A GLANCE
80+
communities, non-profits, and tribes supported
<1 to 1,400+
the size range in acres of properties evaluated for redevelopment

Our collaborative and multidisciplinary teams provide on-the-ground technical assistance to municipalities, nonprofits, and tribes—including communities with environmental justice concerns that have faced decline due to pollution, market forces, racism, or underinvestment.

Challenge

Vacant and potentially polluted sites pose economic problems for communities. Community members want action but redeveloping or reusing these “brownfields” sites is complicated by the perceived or actual contamination that may affect the health and safety of residents. The path to successful site clean-up and revitalization is complex, requiring wide-ranging stakeholder engagement. This requires community input and coordination with a host of different federal, state, tribal, and local community organizations, including planning, economic development, public works, and engineering agencies.

In May 2023, the Biden administration announced its investment of $235 million in grants to assess and clean up brownfields sites across the United States. EPA's Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization wanted to make sure communities had access to the necessary expertise to take full advantage of this funding opportunity.

Solution

Our technical assistance teams worked with urgency, sensitivity, and enthusiasm to help communities understand not only what types of reuses (e.g., residential, commercial, mixed use, or greenspace) are the most economically viable, but what the future redevelopment possibilities of contaminated and abandoned sites might be. That included visualizing future options through 2D plans and 3D renderings of different reuse scenarios.

We developed realistic strategies on how to overcome technical, administrative, and fiscal obstacles for a diverse range of property types, including abandoned factories, paper plants, mines, mills, churches, schools, and power plants. Our team of environmental scientists, planners, engineers, economists, real estate specialists, architects, health specialists, climate scientists, ecologists, and renewable energy experts collaborated to provide the most sustainable plans for site reuse.

“Your team really went above and beyond to develop creative options and present everything in a clear, helpful and appealing way. It’s ready to go!”

EPA Brownfields Project Manager

Results

Cleaning up and revitalizing blighted properties into positive community assets creates jobs, stimulates the local economy, cleans up the environment, and improves public health and safety. As of February 2024, the Brownfields and Land Revitalization program’s technical assistance has helped communities gain broad stakeholder support for revitalization visions, win millions of dollars in site cleanup and redevelopment grants, obtain funding and financing, and secure developer deals for several projects.

On more than one occasion, assistance recipients have praised our work as creative, dynamic, and innovative. This is a testament to how critical site reuse visions are to these communities as they plan for the future of their cities and towns.

"Thank you all very much for the time and energy you've put toward this report! We appreciate the diverse expertise that has gone into exploring our questions… This contribution to our electrification and renewable energy transition in Missoula is a valuable step in our journey and we're grateful for your support.”

Climate and Sustainability Specialist
City of Missoula Community Development Division

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Talk to an expert today

Related client stories