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Lower High Falls, Talladega Forest - Bill Wilson

Ten-Step Process for Successful Brownfields Redevelopment



Step 1 - Identify Property

  • A local government identifies vacant or underutilized property it would like to purchase or see developed, or a developer shows interest in redeveloping the property.
  • Have there been activities at the site that could have caused contamination?
  • ADEM is developing a list of potentially contaminated sites in the state. An interested party can contact ADEM directly or use ADEM's online GIS Site Inspector to determine if the site has already been assessed or is known to be contaminated.
  • Private developers may use the GIS Site Inspector to search for potential redevelopment sites.

Step 2 - Site Evaluation

  • If the property has not already been evaluated to determine if contamination exists, an "assessment" of the contamination should be conducted.
  • Federal Brownfields funds are sometimes available through a competitive grant process to assess property. ADEM staff can help local governmental entities with the application.
  • ADEM may utilize its Federal grant funds to conduct assessments for applicants who were unsuccessful in obtaining competitive Brownfields assessment grants.

Step 3 - Remediation / Cleanup Planning

  • If an assessment determines the property is contaminated, the local government or the developer has several options for redevelopment of the site.
  • Remediation may be required for the intended use of the site. A review of environmental risk, utilizing ADEM guidance, may be performed to determine if remediation is required and to what level.
  • A local government or developer may also enter the site in ADEM's Voluntary Cleanup Program, the Drycleaner Environmental Remediation Trust Fund Program, or the Underground Storage Tank Program for ADEM oversight, technical assistance and clear direction to remediate the site.

Step 4 - Site Solution

  • If remediation is required, the developer must prepare a remediation plan. A cost estimate is part of the plan, which will help the developer make decisions on the viability of the planned redevelopment.
  • To fund remediation, the local government or developer has several options for potential financial assistance.
  • Funds may be available through the Alabama Brownfields Revolving Loan Program or through a competitive grant process with EPA for remediation of a site.
  • Various tax incentives and other funding for alternative site uses may also be available to the developer.
  • ADEM staff can provide technical assistance and information on these alternative funding sources.

Step 5 - Site Cleanup

  • A developer must implement remediation activities outlined in the remediation plan. ADEM provides oversight of these actions.
  • If Brownfields funding is used there is no cost to the developer for ADEM oversight.
  • If the developer enters the Voluntary Cleanup Program without Brownfields funding there is a fee associated with participation in that program.
  • Cleanup activities taking place under the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund or Underground Storage Tank program should be coordinated with ADEM.

Step 6 - Liability / Cost Protection

  • There are mechanisms that provide stability in cleanup costs and environmental liability.
  • Private insurance policies are available to cover unforeseen cleanup costs.
  • Entry into the VCP provides some liability protection for past environmental harm at the site.
  • ADEM can provide technical assistance and information on liability protection alternatives.

Step 7 - Exploring Marketability

  • The local government or developer now has information on the site, the allowable future uses and overall cost of returning the property to reuse.
  • A marketing plan can be completed to market the site for reuse.

Step 8 - Redevelopment Begins

  • Once the site has been determined to be ready for reuse, redevelopment can begin.
  • ADEM provides documents about the condition of the site and any use limitations, and will assist the developer with questions about the site from prospective purchasers.
  • Prospective purchasers may also have liability protections from future litigation on past environmental contamination if the site was successfully remediated under ADEM oversight.

Step 9 - Completion

  • Redevelopment is completed.
  • What was previously an underutilized property or an eyesore has been returned to productive use in the community.
  • The site would be listed on the ADEM Brownfields web site and GIS Site Inspector to assist with promoting the beneficial reuse of the property.

Step 10 - Identify Next Property

  • Local governments and developers identify the next property to be brought back into productive reuse in their communities.
  • ADEM stands ready to assist local governments and developers throughout the process.


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