December 11 2007

Brownfield: Definition

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What is a Brownfield?

The question came up in a meeting I attended last week while discussing the reasons behind the lack of LEED Certification. Here is the fruit of my research regarding the definition of a Brownfield.

General Definition:

According to Wikipedia, brownfields "are abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contaminations." For city planning purposes "brownfield land is land previously used for industrial purposes, or certain commercial uses, and that may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up. Land that is more severely contaminated and has high concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, such as Superfund or hazardous waste sites, do not fall under the brownfield classification."

LEED's Definition:

Also the USGBC and LEED define a brownfield as "a site documented as contaminated (by means of an ASTM E1903-97 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment or a local Voluntary Cleanup Program) OR a site defined as a brownfield by a local, state or federal governmental agency."

EPA Definition:

With certain legal exclusions and additions, the term `brownfield site' means real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

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