Brownfields 101

What is a brownfield?

Brownfield sites are defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Through grants from the EPA, the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) provides assistance and technical guidance to facilitate redevelopment of Brownfield sites in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa Parishes in southeast Louisiana.

Abandoned gas stations, with their history of automotive use and underground petroleum tanks, are common examples of brownfields.

Addressing potential environmental issues, especially financial and regulatory hurdles, is often intimidating, creating a barrier to the redevelopment or expanded use of Brownfield sites. RPC’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program helps convert these properties from community liabilities to community assets by providing assistance and technical guidance to navigate the environmental process from investigation to cleanup.

Characteristics of a site that is a good candidate for RPC Brownfield assistance include those that:

  • Were once developed but is now either underutilized or abandoned;
  • Have either real or perceived environmental contamination preventing redevelopment;
  • The site is not listed on the National Priorities List (i.e. Superfund sites are not eligible);
  • The planned redevelopment is income-producing property or for a community benefit;
  • Ideal candidates have a redevelopment plan and at least partial funding for the redevelopment in place.

What does RPC’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program provide?

Through grants from EPA’s Brownfield and Land Revitalization Program, RPC’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program provides Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments and environmental cleanup plans as well as technical assistance to help facilitate the redevelopment of Brownfield sites in our member parishes. RPC’s pre-selected consultants conduct the assessment activities and RPC oversees each investigation to ensure it meets EPA’s standards. The applicant is involved in every step of the investigation. Private owners and companies, non-profit organizations,
and public entities are all eligible applicants. Please contact the Brownfield Coordinator Adam Tatar at (504) 483-8533 or to determine eligibility for a specific project.

Please note that RPC applies for funding through EPA’s annual competitive process so the amount of funding available to RPC fluctuates depending on funding awarded. We do not receive automatic funding for this program.

For sites located in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes, please contact the South Central Planning and Development Commission’s Brownfield Program.

About the Regional Planning Commission

10 Veterans Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70124

The Regional Planning Commission for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes (RPC) is a Commission of local elected officials and citizen members, who represent the residents of southeast Louisiana on regional issues and is supported by a staff of professionals with broad experience in a variety of areas including urban and regional planning, community development, transportation planning, and economic development. The Regional Planning Commission also serves as the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the southeast Louisiana region.