Brownfields Nuts & Bolts Training Overview



On Tuesday March 25, 2008, the City of Blue Island hosted a Brownfields Nuts & Bolts TrainingWorkshop, which also served as kick-off meeting for the Brownfields Advisory Team (BAT) associated with the City’s 2007 USEPA Brownfields Assessment grant project. This report summarizes the workshop content, feedback provided by attendees and next steps in Blue Island’s Brownfields Assessment project implementation process. For background on the USEPA funded project associated with this workshop, please refer to the Blue Island Brownfields 2007 Grant Fact Sheet.

Workshop Overview


The workshop was presented through a powerpoint presentation and divided into the following 3 segments:

  • What are Brownfields and Why Should I Care?;
  • The Site Assessment Process; and
  • Elements of a Successful Brownfields

Program attendees received an agenda, a packet of the powerpoint slides, a copy of “Blue Island Brownfields Priorities” describing how to rank sites and an example copy of how the rankings will apply to potentialsites.

Workshop Objectives

  1. To explain linkages between brownfields redevelopment planning and economic development.
  2. To provide education on factors affecting brownfields redevelopment.
  3. To promote community involvement in site selection process for assessment grant money.

Presented by Delta Redevelopment Institute

Delta Redevelopment Institute, a non-profit organization formed in 1998, specializes in brownfields redevelopment to revitalize Chicago-area blighted communities. They improve environmental quality and promote community and economic development in the Great Lakes region. Delta’s extensive experience includes:

  • Facilitation of community participation and brownfields site prioritization process with the South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association for 8 communities (Chicago Heights, Lansing,Posen, Riverdale and South Chicago Heights in 2001; and for Burnham, Markham and Robbinsin 2004).
  • Partnership with the Michigan City (Indiana) Economic Development Corporation to clean and redevelop a former foundry site in northern Indiana.
  • Redevelopment plans for several hundred acres of brownfields in disadvantaged communitiesincluding Gary, Indiana, and Riverdale, Illinois.

Workshop Content

Workshop Agenda

  1. What is a Brownfield and why should I care
  2. The Site Inventory & Assessment Process
  3. Elements of a Successful Brownfields Program

What are Brownfields & Why Should I Care?

Presented by Christine Slattery, Senior Associate Director of Delta, this segment explained the definition of abrownfield, the impact brownfields can have on a community and basic methods for brownfields redevelopment.
A brownfield is defined by the USEPA as “Real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence of potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant,or contaminant.” Brownfields can exist in many buildings and sites, such as abandoned gas stations,and could harbor hazardous substances like asbestos or lead. Many brownfield sites go unnoticed inareas, which puts residents’ well being at risk.

It is important to learn about brownfields to improve environmental quality and human health. Redevelopment of brownfields will enhance economic development and may be eligible for federalgrant opportunities while it offers information on opportunity sites for potential developers. Learningabout brownfields will provide an understanding between development plans, zoning and environmentalcleanup requirements in the area.

Conditions affecting redevelopment of brownfields involve time, cost, and market factors.

A simple “ABC” process may choose site prioritization. Possible criteria for assigning site priorities inBlue Island include whether the site is concurrent with existing plans, a location within TOD target area, environmental concerns, a different marketable use that will generate jobs and the economy, and/or short return time on redevelopment given environmental factors, ownership status, and marketconditions.

The Site Assessment Process

Presented by Abigail Corso, Associate Director of Delta, this segment explained the process potential brownfieldsites undergo prior to and during testing.
The Site Assessment Process occurs after the site selection.

The Illinois Site Remediation Program (SRP) is a voluntary cleanup program for brownfield sites administered by the IEPA. The SRP establishes investigation and cleanup standards that vary basedon the zoning and use (or proposed use) of the brownfield site. Once a site has completed the program,the IEPA issues a “No Further Remediation” (NFR) Letter stating that the cleanup is satisfactory for the site’s intended use and the owner has no additional responsibility for completing an approved cleanup plan. This is only available if the site is enrolled in the SRP program.

Following is the Phase I ESA, which can cost from $2,500-$5,000 depending on the site. Phase I identifies potential Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs), which is the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances on a property that may indicate an existing release, a pastrelease, or a material threat of a release of the substance(s) into structures on the property, or into theground, groundwater, or surface water of the property.

Required elements to conduct a Phase I assessment include:

  1. A site visit;
  2. Interviews with knowledgeable persons of site;
  3. A background review of records pertaining to the property and surrounding properties, including Sanborn maps; and
  4. A comprehensive written report.

Phase II ESAs further investigates RECs from the Phase 1 process. This includes soil, groundwater,and building materials sampling and may cost $10,000 and up per site.

Once these steps are complete, extensive reports, such as the Site Investigation Summary, which include the sampling analyses from the sites, and the Remedial Action Plan, which is a workplan onhow to reduce site contamination, will be drafted and studied to move forward with the brownfield site redevelopment.

Elements of a Successful Brownfield Program

Presented by Donna Ducharme, President of Delta, describing the importance of municipality and community involvement in brownfield redevelopment and approaches to receiving proper funding.

A successful Brownfields Program requires a vision and goals in the long-run, such as a master plan, target area plans, and a focus on sustainability. Municipalities should know their available properties and be knowledgeable of their ownership and control. Successful programs should apply for a number of available of grants and incentives, while also investing in local loan funds, tax incentives, and TIF monies. The program must prepare marketing strategies such as market research, placing properties and other information online, and targeted outreach.
Preventing Pollution and Future Brownfields
Presented by Jen Wang, Associate of Delta, providing information and tips to avoid potential Brownfields.
One of the most important elements of a successful Brownfields Program is the effort to prevent future brownfields by having adaptive reuse and infill, green infrastructure and building codes, and reuse construction, placing pollution prevention ordinances, and controlling stormwater runoff, among other things.

Next Steps

Presented by Christine Slattery, who provided guidelines and tips for the upcoming steps in the Brownfield redevelopment process.
In order for Blue Island to begin the brownfields redevelopment process, the City along with the Brownfields Advisory Team (BAT) will develop project goals and objectives and site selection criteria to prioritize 25 sites in the Transit-Oriented Development areas which will be selected for Phase I ESAs. Based on the results of the Phase Is, 2 sites for will be chosen for Phase II sampling. Additionally, an update in Blue Island’s Economic Development plan will help with the redevelopment process.

Conclusions & Next Steps

The Brownfields Nuts and Bolts Training Workshop was designed to educate community stakeholders with background information that would enable participants to provide informed input during the project decision making process. Feedback from both participants and facilitators indicated that the workshop was generally well received and considered a useful and worthwhile training.

Concerns from participants included:

  • Determining which sites to choose for site selection process
  • Ownership issues
  • Cooperativeness with property owners to conduct site assessments

These issues and concerns will be addressed as the project progresses.

Next Steps

Project/Meeting Schedule (Tentative)




3/25/08 BAT kickoff & Brownfields Training Workshop BAT Members
April-May 2008 Complete Inventory. Score properties based on weighted criteria. Staff/Consultant
June 5, 2008 BAT Workshop 2 – Refine project selection criteria and scoring. BAT Members
June 2008 BAT determine Phase I properties based on scores. Staff/BAT Members
June 2008 Final Phase I property list present to mayor for approval. Consultant
June 2008 Complete & submit 25 Eligibility Determination requests to USEPA. Consultant 2 & Staff
June-Aug 2008 Perform 25 Phase I ESAs (following USEPA Approval). Consultant 2
August 2008 Market Study to determine sites with highest redevelopment potential. Consultant 2
Sept 2008 Consultant complete & submit HASP and QAPP. Wait for USEPA approval. Consultant 2
Fall 2008 (est.) Choose 2 sites to receive Phase II ESAs. BAT/Staff/Consultant
Dec 2008 Consultant complete & submit Sampling Plans. Wait for USEPA approval. Environmental Engineer
Spring 2009 Perform Phase II Site Investigations. Environmental Engineer
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