Some Nebraska communities may have properties that are in need of redevelopment, but that redevelopment is complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.
These properties are known as brownfields. Common examples of brownfields include old gas stations, historical dry cleaners, auto repair shops and manufacturing facilities.
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy’s (NDEE) Brownfields Program serves as a catalyst to help communities redevelop their brownfield properties. NDEE receives limited funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to offer various investigations and assistance at no cost to eligible applicants. The complete list of services includes:
This assistance can be the first step toward redeveloping a brownfield site by verifying the presence of contamination. If there are no environmental problems, reuse can begin. If issues exist, the information can be used for pursuing additional grants to revitalize the property.
- Section 128(a) Phase I Assessment – provides preliminary environmental information to determine if hazardous chemicals were used or stored on a property.
- Section 128(a) Phase II Assessment – includes sampling to identify types and concentrations of contaminants and the area of contamination that may need to be cleaned up.
- Brownfield property inventories within a given area of the community.
- Surveys to test building materials for asbestos, lead-based paint, and mold
- Cleanup planning activities (e.g., Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives report)
- Partial assistance for asbestos abatement and soil excavation or cleanup activities.
By utilizing the Brownfields Program, communities can restore property for productive use, increase property values, increase the local tax base, improve their community image, mitigate public health and safety concerns, use existing infrastructure, create jobs and preserve green areas outside of their cities by reducing urban sprawl.
Organizations that represent community interests, including city or county government, non-profit economic development organizations, and regional councils of government are eligible to participate in the Brownfields Program. For-profit development organizations and individuals responsible for causing the contamination are not generally eligible.
To learn more about the brownfields process, see NDEE’s Brownfields – Additional Frequently Asked Questions page, or see the agency’s Brownfields Resources flyer.