The New Jersey cities of Trenton, Jersey City, Newark, and Camden are set to receive a total of $2.3 million dollars from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help them assess and clean up contaminated and abandoned sites. The funding will be channeled through the EPA’s Brownfields Program. The clean up projects will help revitalize commercial and industrial properties by removing the toxic pollution that has hindered their redevelopment.
A brownfield site, or brownfield as it is commonly called, is a piece of land that was formerly used for industrial or commercial purposes, but is now abandoned or underused. Brownfield sites are perceived to be contaminated with low concentrations of hazardous waste, but have the potential to contain high concentrations of such waste. The pollutants are usually petroleum products often leaked from underground storage tanks or buried drums, but may include a number of toxic chemicals and organic compounds.
The Brownfields Program has been in existence since the EPA designated its first brownfield site in 1993 in Cuyahoga County in Ohio. Brownfields hold a special status because even though they are contaminated, they are not quite so bad to be included on the EPA’s National Priorities List, otherwise known as Superfund. The Brownfields Program does have a number of benefits including the following: