Nye County Brownfields Program
Information on the specific properties assessed and programs accomplished utilizing Brownfields funding can be found by accessing www.rdsbc.org
Nye County has been actively involved in the EPA’s Brownfields program since 2002. Brownfields are “properties where the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant, or the perception of contamination complicates the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of that property." Nye County’s Brownfields program is intended to assist the county and its residents to improve their quality of life by identifying, assessing, and remediation of areas of contamination, and returning property to beneficial use.
Since the inception of Nye County’s Brownfields program, the county has received five major grant awards and assessed over 25 properties. Nye County has set the standard for redevelopment of rural Brownfield sites by exploring innovative approaches to leveraging various funding and technical assistance resources to successfully complete projects. The County sponsored and worked through a collaborative process to develop State legislation that addresses former methamphetamine lab clean-up measures in Nevada. The County has successfully attracted numerous renewable energy developers to redevelop former Brownfield properties as renewable energy generation sites. Additionally, the County intends to incorporate the recently awarded Brownfields Job Training Program into its strategy for energy efficiency and conservation work; successful graduates of the program can help weatherization technicians address asbestos, lead based paint, and other hazardous materials issues during construction renovations. Nye County works with its community partners (including Great Basin College, Valley Electric Association, NV Energy, and the Rural Nevada Development Corporation, among others) to promote job-skills training for residents so that as many jobs as possible that are generated by the Brownfields program remain in Nye County.
What Are Brownfields?
“A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”
(Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act,” PL 107-118 11 January 2002.)
Communities throughout the Coalition region have properties that are abandoned, blighted, or underused. Typically, but not always, these are industrial or commercial properties which can vary by size. Examples of Brownfields include: gas stations, dry cleaning facilities, old schools, landfills, old mines, refineries and manufacturing facilities. The expansion or redevelopment of these properties, or Brownfields, is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Often, the mere fear of environmental contamination can result in a property being removed from consideration for redevelopment or reuse.
Why is Redevelopment of Brownfields Important?
Brownfields are not just found in big cities. Several communities within the RDSBC region have suffered economically during the past several decades due to declines or closures of important local industries. As a result, many brownfields of various types and conditions are available for redevelopment opportunities. These brownfields often have excellent business locations, with access to transportation and existing infrastructure.
The Coalition’s brownfield program is an important tool to assist the economic development efforts in the region. It fits with other economic development assistance and resources to address liability protection, reuse incentives, revitalization efforts, and is an important part of a comprehensive economic development program.
Communities should encourage redevelopment of brownfields opportunities as part of their overall economic development strategies in order to reuse existing infrastructure, encourage adaptive reuse of existing buildings, remove blight, promote neighborhood revitalization, as well as enhance overall community health and welfare. This strategy will also increase tax bases and revenues, create jobs and improve the appearance of the entire community.
What is the Brownfields Process?
- Identify Potential Brownfields Properties
- Assess Environmental Conditions: Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments
- Sustainable Redevelopment
Community outreach and involvement efforts should focus on the affected community and be coordinated with Phase I and II assessments. Property owners, neighborhood associations, developers, financial institutions and community organizations are involved in these and subsequent phases. Following the assessment phases, the site enters the Clean-Up Phase which must be aligned to a reuse or redevelopment option. EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants to fund environmental assessment, cleanup, and job training activities. Other resources may be available, along with private/public sector investment, to assist in the effort.