Brownfield Redevelopment Assessments

Contact: Joseph Walczak 517-284-5167

Site Assessment Application Form
Brownfield Assessment Information Bulletin

If your community has questions regarding environmental concerns on a potential brownfield property- the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ's) Brownfield Redevelopment Assessment program can provide the answers.

If the property qualifies, the DEQ's assessment team will gather background information and environmental samples to determine if contamination exists at a property at concentrations in excess of the state's remediation criteria of Part 201.  The assessment is similar to a Phase I/II Environmental Site Assessment and includes a report which summarizes the assessment activities and provides your community with recommendations for cleanup and redevelopment.  Click on the attachment below to download an Information Bulletin regarding these assessments.

Utilizing federal funds from the Section 128(a) Brownfield grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) for the purpose of enhancing the state's cleanup and redevelopment programs, the DEQ provides approximately 5 free assessments per year to local units of government and public developers, to evaluate properties for redevelopment.  These assessments provide enough information to make remedial and due care decisions before a party commits to purchase and/or redevelop a property.  While federal funds are used, a property is not entered into the Superfund evaluation or National Priorities List nomination process unless specifically requested by the state.

How are sites selected for assessment?
Candidate properties can be identified at any time by a local unit of government, a governmental agency, or a non-for-profit community development agency.  The properties are identified by submitting a request letter and application to the DEQ Brownfield Assessment Program Manager for consideration.  To download an application click on the application below or contact the DEQ Brownfield Assessment Program Manager above to obtain a copy.

Candidate properties will be prioritized for assessment.  Properties with a proposed or active redevelopment project will prioritize higher.  Properties under consideration for development of public facilities and properties owned by a local unit of government are eligible for this assessment.  If a private redevelopment project is intended for the candidate property, it is preferred that the developer has a strong interest in the property and that neither the private owner nor developer are potentially liable parties for the property.

The goal of the assessment is to identify potential contaminated areas on a property which may need to be remediated prior to redevelopment.  The assessment provides information that could be used as a basis for a facility determination by the DEQ pursuant to Part 201.  The data may also provide the basis for a Baseline Environmental Assessment and/or All Appropriate Inquiry.  A review of the potential imminent hazard is made to assist in determining whether an emergency removal action may be needed at the property.  If deemed necessary, a health assessment may also be conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health.  The data and information generated by the assessment are shared with the property owner, the potential developer, and the DEQ District Office as soon as it is available so that property redevelopment discussions can occur.

Nature of investigations
The property assessments consist of a review of background information, identification of past operational practices, identification of evidence of contamination from file searches, a property visit to evaluate the need for sample collection, field sampling of appropriate media such as soils, groundwater, surface water, or sediments, and generation of a report summarizing the findings and recommendations.  The potential exposure pathways and potential off-property migration pathways appropriate to the property will be investigated.  Sample locations and property features are precisely located using a satellite-based Global Positioning System.  Samples collected during the field investigation will be analyzed for appropriate organic and inorganic compounds by the DEQ utilizing appropriate procedures.  Field measurements of metal concentrations can also be made using a hand-held X-ray fluorescence unit.  As appropriate, additional investigations such as geophysical surveys, asbestos evaluations relative to the regulatory threshold of the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants standard, and lead paint analysis may be conducted.  If there are standing buildings on the property, the local unit of government may be asked to conduct a building safety/condemnation survey before the DEQ conducts its sampling visit(s).