BrownfieldsFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is a brownfield?
A brownfield is defined under NJ state law (N.J.S.A.
58:10B-23.d) as "any former or current commercial or industrial
site that is currently vacant or underutilized and on which there
has been, or there is suspected to have been, a discharge of a
contaminant." While this is the definition recognized in
state legislation, there are many variations on this definition.
Generally, brownfields are properties that are abandoned or underutilized
because of either real or perceived contamination.
- How many contaminated sites are there in NJ? Are they all brownfields?
NJDEP has organized the “Known Contaminated
Sites” in New Jersey into three categories: active sites
with known contamination, pending sites with known contamination,
and closed sites with remediated contamination. Not all of these
sites are brownfield sites. However, a search can be performed
of the New Jersey Known Contaminated Sites if you are interested
in a specific area or location within a municipality. For more
information about known contaminated sites, consult the list.
- Where can I find a suitable brownfield site for my business?
There are a number of approaches to finding
a suitable brownfield for reuse as a business. Under NJDEP's Brownfield
Development Area (BDA) program, designated communities have identified
clusters of brownfield sites for coordinated remediation and reuse
according to a community-based plan. A listing of the BDA sites
can be found at https://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/brownfields/bda/sites/.
NJ Department of State has developed a "Site
Mart," which is a searchable on-line multiple-listing
service. Users need to register at the website to view the
listed properties. The registration is free and available
to anyone. For more information, please contact the Office
of Planning Advocacy at 609-777-3474.
NJDEP has compiled a list
of contaminated sites. However, this list does not distinguish
between sites that are available for development and those that
are simply in the remediation process.
Often the best source of information regarding
redevelopment of a specific site is found locally. If you have
a specific municipality or county in mind, speak with the local
economic development directors who generally know where the sites
are in their communities. Also, many counties have developed inventories
of brownfield sites.
- Where can I find New Jersey’s brownfield law?
The Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation
Act (BCSRA) was passed in 1998 and Section 35 was amended in October,
2002. The BSCRA was further amended in conjunction with the Site
Remediation and Reform Act. Additional information regarding the
SRRA and amendments to the BSCRA, can be found on the Site Remediation
- Where can I find funding for brownfield remediation and redevelopment?
The NJDEP works in partnership with the New
Jersey Economic Development Authority to administer the Hazardous
Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF). The HDSRF provides
funding to municipalities, counties, and redevelopment enitities
for the remediation of brownfield sites. There are a number of
grants and loans for assessment, investigation and cleanup of
There are additional sources of funding that
can be found through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's
Brownfields program including grants and loans for assessments,
cleanup, and planning. Additional information can be found at
- How can the redevelopment of a brownfield help a community?
Since brownfield sites are often abandoned and
poorly maintained properties, they can create an unattractive
nuisance. Vandalism, trespassing and environmental contamination
are common at brownfield properties. In addition to improving
the appearance of the property to the community, the redevelopment
of a brownfield property can increase value of the surrounding
properties, create new jobs, and positively impact the local economy.
- Where can I access information about a specific brownfield site?
- Does a municipality have to remediate or clean up contamination at a brownfields site?
The Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) established
an affirmative obligation for responsible parties to remediate
contaminated sites in a timely manner. A government entity that
is a responsible party must adhere to these deadlines. However,
a government entity that owns contaminated property for which
it is not a responsible party is not required, but is strongly
encouraged to adhere to these deadlines. More information can
be found at https://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/general/srra_gov_ent_man_time_frame.pdf.