What is a Brownfield?
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 (EPA definition).
Examples of Brownfields include:
- Illegal dumpsites
- Abandoned tank farms
- Old canneries
- Abandoned buildings with contaminants such as lead-based paint or asbestos materials
- Abandoned mines
- Abandoned properties where petroleum products have been spilled
- Former military or defense sites
Common Contaminants and Their Health Effects
Cleaning up sites with contamination protects human and ecologic health by preventing exposure to dangerous chemicals and ensuring the safety of traditional foods harvested nearby.
Common contaminants include:
- Petroleum products (gas or diesel)
- PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls)
- Mercury and methylmercury
All of these substances are known toxins and can cause a range of health effects including types of cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders.
Maniilaq Brownfields Tribal Response Program (TRP)
The Brownfields TRP program:
- creates an inventory of Brownfields in the Maniilaq Service Area and a public record for community members to be aware of contamination in their villages (map below)
- conducts education and outreach activities on the health risks associated with Brownfields
- connects Tribes and villages with resourcesto assess, clean up and reuse Brownfields
- enhances local capacity to prevent and clean up Brownfields
How does a Brownfield get cleaned up?
Brownfield sites may be eligible for funding from the EPA through Targeted Brownfields Assessments (TBA), Alaska DEC through their Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Service (DBAC) or other funding grants.
These programs are only available if the person or entity that caused the contamination (also referred to as the responsible party) cannot be located or is unable to pay for cleanup. Former military sites have separate streams of funding available for clean ups which vary by department or agency.