What Are Brownfields?

A brownfield site is property, or land that has been developed in the past and which is currently underutilized.  The re-development of a brownfield site may be complicated by the presence or perceived presence of hazardous substances such as pollution, contaminants, petroleum or petroleum products. Examples of brownfield sites include vacant gas stations, closed down manufacturing plants, or previous dry cleaners operations. 


Revitalization of Brownfields

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides grant funding to inventory, assess, clean up, and reuse brownfield sites. A critical part of EPA’s assessment and cleanup efforts is to ensure that residents living in communities historically affected by economic disinvestment, health disparities, and environmental contamination have an opportunity to reap the benefits from brownfields redevelopment. EPA’s Brownfields Program is committed to helping communities revitalize brownfield properties, mitigate potential health risks, and restore economic vitality.

assessment grant funding

Assessment Grants are the first step in the process and provide funding for:

  • developing inventories of brownfields
  • prioritizing sites
  • conducting community involvement activities
  • conducting site assessments
  • cleanup planning related to brownfield sites

Assessment grants for individual applicants can be either community-wide or site-specific. Community-wide proposals are appropriate when a specific site is not identified and the applicant plans to spend grant funds on more than one brownfield in its community. Site-specific proposals are appropriate when a specific site has been identified and the applicant plans to spend grant funds on this one site only. The performance period for Assessment Grants is three years.


Assessment grant application for funds

The Transylvania County Planning and Community Development Department is dedicated to improving the health, social and development potential of properties impacted from the presence of brownfield sites by facilitating site assessments and cleanup planning.  The first step of this effort is applying for a grant from the EPA to inventory and assess the presence of contamination on at least four brownfield sites located in the county.   A grant application prepared with the help of Mid-Atlantic Engineering & Environmental Solutions was authorized by Transylvania County Commissioners and submitted to the EPA on December 20, 2016.

NeXt Steps

  • work with a local brownfield advisory group made up of property owners, businesses and civic leaders
  • continue to reach out to property owners that may have property with environmental concerns
  • communicate / educate the public about brownfields through local media and civic organizations

Join Us!

Interested citizens are invited to participate in brownfields identification and revitalization. Participation of Transylvania County citizens is key to communicating the program to their personal groups and organizations, and is integral in providing feedback to brownfields revitalization leadership.  There's no better way to make an impact than to become an active yourself.  Join us by contacting the Planning & Community Development Department.