What is a Brownfield?

8The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines brownfields as, “abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.” More recently, Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources amended its definition of brownfields through the Vermont legislature to read: “Brownfield site” means real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the release or threatened release of a hazardous material.” Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands. The existence of brownfields has its roots in the strict liability provisions created in 1980 by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal law also known as “Superfund.” The strict liability standards of CERCLA that hold owners, whether past or present, responsible for all cleanup costs also impacted Brownfields since many potential developers and businesses want to avoid such unknown and potentially monumental risks.

The EPA Brownfields Program

In 1995, the EPA established its Brownfields Program in an effort to limit the liability of potential developers and to change the old mentality of “fence and keep out” to “revitalize and return to the community.” For additional details on the EPA Brownfields Program, read the summary of EPA Brownfields Program Benefits.

Since 1999,  SWCRPC has been an active participant in the EPA’s Brownfields Program, which provides federal funding for assessing and cleaning up brownfields. The SWCRPC Brownfields Program has been assisting towns and property owners throughout southern Windsor County in the process of revitalizing Brownfields. Many large former industrial properties exist from a time when the Region was a hub of manufacturing activity. Because many of these properties are perceived as being contaminated with hazardous materials, they remain undeveloped and are eyesores in many of the Region’s towns. These properties, if remediated, have the potential to become valuable to the surrounding community as redeveloped properties that not only generate tax revenues, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth, but also create aesthetic value by removing blight from an area. For additional details on SWCRPC Brownfields read our Brownfields Brochure or contact Daniel Potter at (802) 674-9201.

View Larger Map
Above is a map of known brownfield sites within the Southern Windsor County Region. Click here or on the map at right to view the map. Brownfield sites are highlighted in red. Zoom in and click on a brownfield site to see details including site name, address, and any assessment activities that have been completed for that site.

Southern Windsor County Brownfields Reuse Project
(SWCBRP Environmental Site Assessments)

100_River_ST_Construction_2The Southern Windsor County Brownfields Reuse Project is a program funded by EPA Assessment Grants (Hazardous and Petroleum). Property owners or prospective purchasers may take advantage of technical assistance provided by the grant. The RPC hires consultants to complete environmental site assessments on properties in the Region that meet EPA’s eligibility requirements. Generally, properties that are local priorities for redevelopment may receive technical assistance through this program. In order to put a property on the list of potential sites for assistance, property owners must fill out an owner participation form and an eligibility application . If the site is thought to be contaminated only by petroleum, a petroleum eligibility application must also be submitted.  For more information on the State’s Underground Storage Tank Program and homeowner’s guides to farm and residential tank removal go to: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/ust/OandM.htm.

Below are the steps that commonly occur in a Brownfields Reuse Project:

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

-Background information gathering and historical records review
-Visual site inspections
-Other requirements according to ASTM standards

Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

-Subsurface Soil Sampling
-Groundwater Sampling
-Ecological Assessment (if necessary)
-Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) required by EPA

Supplemental Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

-Subsurface soil sampling and groundwater sampling to determine the extent of contamination found in the initial Phase II ESA

Corrective Action Feasibility Investigations (CAFI)

  • An evaluation of remediation options and associated costs, while balancing environmental protection and site redevelopment goals
  • Identification of redevelopment scenarios
  • Identification of remedial alternatives
  • Engineering evaluation of remedial alternatives and selection of preferred alternative
  • Required by DEC to be included in all DEC approved Corrective Action Plans
  • Required by EPA for grants and loans through the Southern Windsor County Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (SWCBRLF)

Corrective Action Plan

A plan detailing the specific remedial actions necessary to implement the preferred alternative selected in the CAFI process.


Southern Windsor County Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (SWCBRLF)

IMG_0100The SWCBRLF is funded through an EPA Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund grant. This program allows the RPC to give grants to municipalities and nonprofits, and low-interest loans to all property owners who meet EPA eligibility requirements (generally, an owner is not eligible if he/she can be considered responsible for the contamination). In order to receive funding through this program, owners or bona fide prospective purchasers must first fill out an eligibility application for the program. This application is reviewed by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff and by the program contact at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If a site is determined to be eligible for the program, an application and financial documentation must be submitted for review by the Brownfields Steering Committee at SWCRPC. All application requirements are listed below. For forms, click on the links provided or contact Allie Hopkins at the SWCRPC offices (802)674-9201.


Loan/Grant Application Requirements:

  • Eligibility  application (Word®, PDF®)
  • Grant/Loan application (Word®, PDF®)
  • Redevelopment plans
  • Supporting information (all previous reports including ASTM Phase I or equivalent and any other site assessment documents that were completed without EPA funding from SWCRPC)
  • Corrective Action Plan approved by Vermont DEC
  • Financial documentation (listed on the Loan application)


Brownfields Links

Vermont Brownfields Programs:

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development – Brownfields Initiative

EPA Brownfields Program:

EPA New England Brownfields Page

 Additional Links:

Guidance Documents from the VT DEC (including ANR Investigation and Remediation of Contaminated Properties Procedure (IROCP))
EPA Prepared Workbook