Brownfields in Connecticut
A brownfield is defined by Connecticut General Statutes §32-760 as “any abandoned or underutilized site where redevelopment, reuse or expansion has not occurred due to the presence or potential presence of pollution in the buildings, soil or groundwater that requires investigation or remediation before or in conjunction with the restoration, redevelopment, reuse and expansion of the property.”
Sites, once used for industrial, manufacturing, or commercial uses, were abandoned or underutilized due to known or suspected contamination from past uses. Unknown environmental liabilities were preventing communities, developers and investors from restoring these properties to productive use and revitalizing impacted neighborhoods.
DEEP’s Remediation Division oversees the assessment and cleanup of brownfields and other contaminated sites in Connecticut and coordinates with DEEP’s Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance on remediation of releases from underground storage tanks, PCBs, and illegal waste disposal sites. The May 2016 Connecticut Brownfields Conference Presentation Clean-up 101: DEEP’s Role in Brownfield Development offers an overview of the process.
Connecticut’s state remediation programs and standards promote the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields and other contaminated sites. The Connecticut Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs) establish standards for the cleanup of contaminated sites including brownfields. The Voluntary Remediation Program, Property Transfer Program, and various brownfields liability relief programs provide a mechanism by which property owners can assess environmental conditions at their properties and ensure that cleanups will meet state standards. In some cases, funding for State Brownfield Programs may be available to assist with assessment and/or remediation of Brownfield sites. The State offers a number of liability relief programs that limit the liability of non-responsible owners or prospective purchasers who make a good faith effort to remediate and redevelop brownfields.
The Connecticut Office of Brownfield Remediation and Development (OBRD), in the Department of Economic and Community Development, provides financing and technical resources for cleanup and redevelopment of Brownfields. OBRD works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DEEP, the Office of Policy & Management (OPM), the Department of Housing, the Department of Transportation and other organizations. These agencies have formed a strong partnership to promote remediation and redevelopment of brownfields.Redevelopment of brownfield sites has social and economic benefits, as well as benefits to human health and the environment, such as:
reducing or eliminating public exposure to pollutants,
cleaning up sites that otherwise would not be cleaned up for decades,
reducing environmental impacts associated with industrial sprawl by returning abandoned and underutilized sites to productive use,
creating the potential for new tax revenue for municipalities and the State,
utilizing existing infrastructure, thereby minimizing the expansion of new infrastructure into undeveloped areas,
reversing urban decay and revitalizing our cities, and
creating short-term construction and longer-term jobs.
Content Last Updated May 14, 2020