Abandoned gas stations, former mills, and commercial properties in tax delinquency. These are the vestiges of a century of industrial and transportation infrastructure development that began in the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee region in the mid 1800s. These properties are called Brownfields.
A Brownfield is any property that is intended for redevelopment, but because of its commercial or industrial past, may be compromised in a way that makes redevelopment challenging. Brownfields are typically industrial or commercial properties that are abandoned, idled or underused. These sites would likely be viable commercial, industrial or public use properties if they could be cleared of suspected contamination.
The overall goal of the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Brownfields Program is to promote redevelopment and create vitality within downtowns and village centers by returning Brownfield properties to active commercial, industrial or municipal use. Other properties can be considered for this program if a public benefit would be gained from their redevelopment.
Reutilization of historically productive properties supports sustainable development and promotes community and economic growth. Redevelopment of Brownfields will help alleviate resistant pockets of poverty that have remained in the Region, create employment opportunities, increase municipal tax revenue and enhance community appearances.
Before any property can be redeveloped, developers must perform environmental due diligence, just as an inspection is done prior to buying a new home. In the case of Brownfields properties, this process is called an Environmental Site Assessment, or an ESA. An ESA focuses on determining whether contamination exists on a property and, if so, what can be done to return the property to use for community benefit. Assessment results can be used to develop effective cleanup and re-development plans.
In 2003, TRORC was awarded an initial EPA Brownfields assessment grant. Since that time, we have received $1,200,000 to perform petroleum and hazardous waste assessments (most recently in 2010).
TRORC works closely with Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation staff to promote redevelopment of Brownfields properties. Vermont's Brownfields Reuse and Environmental Liability Limitation Act (BRELLA) program offers a property owner the liability protection needed to investigate and clean up a site and plan for its redevelopment, as well as access to financial assistance. Additional incentives are available to persons that enter the Program prior to purchasing a brownfield property. Brownfield properties that are to be acquired by a municipality are also eligible, regardless of degree of usage or occupancy. For petroleum sites, the state's Petroleum Cleanup Fund offers financial assistance to property owners for the cleanup of spills due to failed fuel storage tanks.
No one should ever buy a property without doing a Phase 1 assessment, ideally before a purchase and sale agreement is signed. Don't let a Brownfields site continue to blight your community and take up valuable space! Let us do an Environmental Assessment for you at no cost. If the assessment determines that cleanup is needed, TRORC and its partners will help property owners seek funds to undertake the cleanup.
TRORC will provide technical assistance, access to consultants that will conduct site investigations and remedial planning, outreach to the community and site neighbors, and other environmental management support as necessary. TRORC staff will assist the applicant in enrolling in the Vermont BRELLA program and can bridge the gap between a privately owned site and government officials.
Assessments will only be conducted on eligible properties where owner permission has been granted. Since these funds are limited and participation is totally voluntary, we can only help those that ask.
Call Kevin Geiger at (802) 457-3188 or email him at email@example.com if you know of a site that we can address. All inquiries are completely confidential. For more information, please download our brochure below.
TRORC Brownfields Brochure
EPA's New England Brownfields site - Contains information directly related to the New England Region's ongoing Brownfields program. Includes links to the national Brownfields Law, grant programs, technical tools and other resources, as well as information on Brownfields projects in New England and across the country.
EPA PREPARED Workbook – A tool local governments can use to help them evaluate various actions that they might take to bring about a desired reuse at contaminated properties. These actions may include property acquisition and non-acquisition approaches (such as leasing, transferring tax liens, collaborative partnerships with property owners, incentives). Worksheets are also provided to help document and guide the evaluation process.
The PREPARED Workbook is further described and available for free download at the link below.
Vermont Brownfields Reuse Initiative - Vermont Brownfields Reuse Initiative - The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation, encourages brownfield reuse projects as a means of accomplishing positive environmental and human health impacts while advancing sound land-use practices. The state's program provides brownfield developers with tools to help deliver projects in a safe, timely and cost effective manner by limiting environmental liability, and providing technical and financial assistance.
Information on the state's Environmental Liability Limitation program is also available through this link. The Brownfields Reuse and Environmental Liability Limitation Act (BRELLA) program allows prospective purchasers to acquire and clean up property in exchange for receiving protection from owner/operator liability.
EPA’s National Brownfields site – Describes the US EPA's Brownfields Program, including the Brownfields Law, US EPA Brownfields Grants, technical tools and resources, as well as information on brownfields projects across the county.
National Brownfield Associations (NBA) - An international umbrella organization of national associations focused on the responsible redevelopment of Brownfields. The NBA is an association for government, businesses and individuals involved in the redevelopment of Brownfields.
Petroleum Cleanup Fund – If you have an underground storage tank for petroleum, you may be interested in this chart that outlines your responsibilities and the possible state reimbursements for cleanup costs.