Brownfields Purpose & Overview

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Missoula County is preparing an application for a Brownfields Assessment grant. If successful, this grant could provide funds to create brownfield inventories, conduct Phase I and/or Phase II assessments and create clean up and reuse plans.

We are seeking the public’s assistance with identifying potential brownfield sites in Missoula County (outside city limits). The program is voluntary. A property owner is under no obligation to participate, even if their property is identified as a brownfield. There is also no guarantee that an identified site will be assessed. Nevertheless, your feedback is very valuable and will help in prioritizing where to focus brownfields funding, if awarded. We have an online survey for you to complete to provide feedback, ideas, or suggest potential sites:

 A brownfield site is defined as real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, controlled substances, petroleum or petroleum products or is mine-scarred land.

 Brownfields can adversely impact human health, decrease the value of surrounding properties, deter potential investments and represent significant safety hazard to the community if left unaddressed.

 Characteristics of a Brownfields Site Might Include:

  • Abandoned property
  • Active but underutilized property (e.g., salvage yard next to a greenway)
  • Real estate turnover complicated by real or perceived contamination
  • Blighted property – significantly conflicts with a Master Plan or Revitalization Plan

Brownfield sites can include residential, commercial, or industrial parcels of land. Examples include properties with former uses such as:

  • Dry cleaners
  • Automotive repair shops
  • Service stations
  • Industrial manufacturers
  • Illegal dump sites
  • Railroad facilities
  • Warehouses
  • Landfills
  • Properties that may have been used for the production of methamphetamine (i.e., meth houses)

Common contaminants associated with Brownfields:

  • Lead-based paint
  • Asbestos
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Petroleum
  • Controlled substances

 Benefits of Brownfields Redevelopment

Brownfield Assessment Grants can help promote revitalization or redevelopment of underutilized properties. These grants can help return properties exhibiting signs of potential contamination back to a productive reuse. Some outcomes might include:

  • Job growth
  • Reduced development pressure on agricultural lands (or urban sprawl)
  • Protection of human health and the environment
  • Stimulating additional redevelopment activities
  • Increasing the local tax base
  • Eliminating eyesores and safety hazards

 Assessment Grants are used for:

  • Developing inventories of brownfields
  • Prioritizing sites
  • Involving the community
  • Conducting Phase I and Phase II site assessments
  • Developing cleanup and reuse plans
  • Assessment funds may not be used to conduct cleanups

 Identifying an Eligible Brownfields Site:

  • Real Property?
  • Abandoned or underutilized?
  • Potential for contamination?
  • Potential reuse or redevelopment?
  • Logical stakeholders?

 Phase I assessments involve:

  • An evaluation of environmental conditions at the site
  • Historical analysis, reviewing historical maps of the property and nearby properties.
  • Visiting the site
  • Interviewing individuals familiar with the site (current and past owners and local officials)
  • Conducting environmental records searches
  • This research results in a final report

If there are environmental concerns, a Phase II assessment will be conducted.

 Phase II assessments involve:

  • Collecting soil and groundwater samples
  • Surveying for asbestos and lead-based paint, if applicable
  • Inventorying hazardous materials, if applicable
  • Determine if there are contaminants that warrant clean-up
If clean-up is warranted, a clean-up plan will be devised, to include cost estimates and bid documents.