Brydges Engineering in Environment and Energy (BE3) has successfully supported hundreds of brownfield re-development projects for municipal and private clients that have ranged from affordable housing projects, market rate residential and mixed-use development, commercial and manufacturing development, solar arrays and recreational parks.
A Brownfield, as defined is when the redevelopment or reuse of a property is complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Common types of Brownfields include abandoned gas stations, factories, rail yards, and dry cleaners or vacant property were impacted fill was placed. Many of these properties remain vacant or underutilized. Besides being eyesores, they also present many other potential negative effects on a community, including safety hazards to neighborhood children or others, reduced property values, or impacts to adjacent property from waste migration. Through federal (USEPA) and state Brownfield programs and initiatives, these properties can be turned into centerpieces of their communities.
BE3 is expert at brownfield restoration and optimizing tax credits associated with State programs that provide incentives
for private re-development. We provide the initial environmental assessment, planning, investigation, remedial design and remediation necessary for each unique project. BE3 is also experienced in the aspects of other incentive programs that can be used in tandem with brownfields such as historic properties tax credits, HUD incentives, utility incentives, NYHCR New York Main Street grant program and others.
BE3 has been part of many highly successful Brownfield projects beginning with the inception of the USEPA and State programs and through the various program changes. We have worked with municipalities on their brownfield assessment; prioritization; cleanup, redevelopment and reuse planning; brownfields marketing; and community involvement efforts. In addition, BE3 engineers and scientists have participated as a member of community Brownfield working committees involving all important stakeholders. These projects have resulted in valid defensible scientific and engineering data and information which private developers and community groups have used to enter other programs or for shovel-ready properties upon which developers and community groups have built
BE3 has also worked with numerous private developers on projects from inception, planning, application, investigation, remediation, and certificate of completion, as well as post brownfield operation and maintenance when appropriate and necessary. These projects have ranged from new manufacturing facilities, storage units, affordable housing complexes, market rate residential development, mixed-use projects, and solar power arrays. Using our proprietary spreadsheet decision analysis, BE3 staff works with our developer clients from project inception. The photos below show a demolition of a former apartment complex which we transformed into new affordable housing.
Our extensive staff expertise and experience help our clients determine the appropriate cleanup level and optimal tax credit potential for each project’s specific conditions. As the project proceeds, BE3 staff are in continuous communication with clients to optimize the success of their projects, often reacting to unanticipated issues that frequently arise in any development project with a value-added approach. Many issues are avoided because of the hands-on experience BE3 staff have for these projects. From initial assessment through clean-up and restoration, BE3 has a team of experts who are experienced in Brownfield remediation in advance of economic development. We provide our clients with the best possible guidance and analysis of brownfield sites. There are several procedures and steps we follow in the process of achieving a successful brownfield redevelopment project. A key indicator of our success is the repeat business we have with clients who have worked with us on multiple projects.
Another Brownfield Redevelopment project we worked on is shown in the pictures below. The first photo of the Historical Sanborn Map shows what the original property looked like. The second photo shows a grass lot after the forge was torn down, and the third photo shows the conversion of the empty grass lot into affordable housing.
Brownfield re-development planning involves two separate planning elements:
1) The planning that municipalities complete to optimize the reuse of derelict or underutilized properties or areas of their community,
2) The planning associated with a specific brownfield project.
Municipal Planning Assistance – Brownfield planning completed by municipalities typically involves the following components:
•Initial survey/list of brownfield sites in the municipality
•Site Characterization and Assessment of individual properties to determine the nature and extent of contamination and potential remedial alternatives/gross costs
•Development of a list of priority brownfield properties and possible Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOAs); and Community Outreach
The next step following the initial identification and prioritization of brownfields in a community is focused brownfield redevelopment planning. BE3 has worked with numerous municipalities in creating site disposition strategies for priority sites; performing evaluation of market viability studies for priority sites; creating resource roadmaps for the highest priority sites; conducting cleanup/reuse planning; and ultimately brownfield marketing.
Throughout the municipal planning process BE3 provides general engineering and planning support and assistance including managing requirements from other agencies involved with a particular project. These can include agencies such as New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), federal HUD requirements for affordable housing projects, local and state-wide utility driven incentives, or other funding source requirements such as USEPA grant requirements.
BE3 and our team of specialty support subcontractors are expert at collecting and assembling data that represents existing conditions of project study areas. We have hands-on experience working with planimetric, transportation, topographic, environmental, community assets, existing land use, parcels, property value, public health, green space, recreational, economic development opportunity areas, as well as residential statistics, census-informed socioeconomic and demographic profiles. Our team mines data from existing data repositories, reports and studies that are available, as well as other on-the-ground sources identified by the community and project team and imported layers into the project geodatabase. We develop data repositories that serve as a single source of truth and ensure that all data, maps and analysis are produced consistently and with transparency and reproducibility in mind – which is important for the community to trust results. Data visualization is a key aspect of our brownfield assistance by using visual context to show patterns, trends and correlations – presenting data as transparent, easy-to understand visualizations promotes trust and project sustainability.
Developer Assistance – BE3 has assisted numerous developers through the brownfield process – tasks typically include the following:
- Pre-brownfield approval tasks – typically to be accepted into a state brownfield program there are a few tasks that need to be accomplished, including completing a site assessment/investigation such as a Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), meeting with the state environmental agency to determine if the project is eligible, and submittal of a formal brownfield application;
- Preparation of a brownfield remedial investigation work plan (RIWP) for state agency approval. This is the document which provides the “game plan” and procedures for the collection of the appropriate type and quantity of valid data about the nature and extent of contamination on a property;
- Completion of the remedial investigation in accordance with the plan which typically involves soil, groundwater and air sampling and analysis;
- Completion of a remedial Investigation/alternatives analysis report (RI/AAR) which describes the investigation, provides the results and an interpretation of the nature and extent of contamination. Based on this an analysis of potential remediation alternatives are reviewed and an optimum remedial alternative is selected based on planned end-use;
- Development of a remedial action work plan (RAWP) which includes a detailed description of all remedial/construction activities based on the approved remedial alternative and includes a health and safety plan, citizen participation plan, QA/QC plan, and soils management plan;
- Provide remedial construction documents as the basic documents for contractor bidding to complete the remediation;
- Provide remedial construction oversight services which includes documenting and monitoring construction and implementing a community air monitoring program during remedial activities;
- Preparation of a Site Management Plan (SMP) to manage remaining contamination, if any, at the site;
- Preparation of a Final Engineering Report (FER) to be prepared and stamped by a licensed professional engineer in which describes the details of all site remediation activities; and
- Ongoing operation and maintenance of any remedial measures that are in place after the project is completed.
BE3 has completed hundreds of brownfield projects for both municipalities and private developers. Please consider our expertise for you next development project.