2003 Progress Report: Hazardous Substance Research Center/South and SouthwestEPA Grant Number: R829480
Center: HSRC (2001) - South and Southwest HSRC
Center Director: Reible, Danny D.
Title: Hazardous Substance Research Center/South and Southwest
Investigators: Schmitter, Bob , Stephens, F. Carol , Ford, Denise Rousseau
Current Investigators: Reible, Danny D. , McCook, Leigh Fitzpatrick
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology , Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge
Current Institution: Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge , Georgia Institute of Technology , The University of Texas at Austin
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2005 (Extended to September 30, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2003
Project Amount: $382,000
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (2001) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Land and Waste Management , Hazardous Waste/Remediation
The objective of this research project is to provide no-cost, nonadvocate technical assistance to communities and municipalities in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 4 and 6 addressing the redevelopment of environmentally contaminated property, also known as brownfield properties. Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) assistance efforts strive to provide a community or municipality with the information needed to ask pertinent questions regarding the sustainable redevelopment of brownfields and remediation options so that they can become informed participants in any decisionmaking processes.
By working closely with local, state, and federal environmental protection agencies, TAB has assisted small, newly organized communities and large, multicommunity organizations that have an established presence and are a driving force in local environmental assessment and remediation efforts. TAB markets its services directly to communities through participation in national and regional environmental conferences, contact with state and federal environmental agencies, and word-of-mouth from communities and municipalities that have benefited from TAB's services.
Despite a sluggish economy and tight state and local budgets, brownfield redevelopment continues to occupy a high-profile position within many state and local economic development organizations because they realize that revitalization of distressed urban properties can generate much needed tax revenues and jobs. As a result of the Brownfields Revitalization Act, signed by President Bush in 2002, states have begun to receive $50 million allocated to them under the law. These funds have helped spur an increase in overall brownfield awareness among municipalities throughout the country. The U.S. EPA was allocated approximately $170 million for its brownfield assessment pilot program, and a record number of organizations applied for this funding in early 2003, with an equally strong response for the late 2003 solicitation. TAB increased its level of service to unsuccessful applicants by working with U.S. EPA Regional Brownfield Coordinators to identify applicants who could benefit from TAB assistance.
During the 2003 calendar year, TAB served 13 brownfield communities (listed below) that needed various levels of technical assistance with their redevelopment efforts. TAB's services include the review of technical documents related to property assessment (Phase I Environmental Site Assessment reports), review of sampling data to assist in the determination of the nature and extent of contamination, and proposed remediation alternatives. TAB has several ongoing activities with other communities that are either not currently active or have not become as fully active as those communities listed below.
During 2003, TAB conducted research into what TAB has termed "urban reflux"—the idea that through brownfield redevelopment, urban populations will increase as more people move back into urban areas from the suburbs. TAB researched the Atlanta metropolitan area to determine if there was a notable increase in the population of Atlanta. Atlanta has been one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas during the decade of 1990-2000. Tracking 1990 and 2000 census data, TAB's research showed that the overall population within the city itself increased only slightly, and that areas of net population gain were located in the affluent and white northern portion of the city. Data indicate that growth that could be tied to brownfield redevelopment appeared to be a result of Atlanta's population experiencing a demographic change of people moving within the city limits, usually from one area to newer, revitalized areas. Additional research is needed to more closely correlate census data with actual brownfield locations, and to determine if urban reflux is occurring in other cities in other parts of the country.
Communities Assisted by TAB in 2002-2003
Augusta, Georgia, Atlanta Youth Soccer Association
Land of Sky, Fletcher, North Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, Florida
City of West Monroe, Louisiana
Prairie View, Texas
Mora County, New Mexico
Avenue CDC, Houston, Texas
To ensure that Center partners are kept informed of TAB activities, detailed quarterly reports are submitted. Some of the recipients of the TAB quarterly reports are U.S. EPA Regions 4 and 6 Brownfield offices, state brownfield offices, and the Hazardous Substance Research Center Technology Transfer and Outreach Advisory Committee.
We will continue to provide no-cost, nonadvocate technical assistance to communities and municipalities in U.S. EPA Regions 4 and 6 addressing the redevelopment of environmentally contaminated property, or brownfield properties.