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Brownfields Definitions & Acronyms


Real property, either presently in use or vacant, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of   which may be complicated by the presence or perceived presence of a hazardous substance,        pollutant, or contaminant. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands.


Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

A site evaluation or assessment conducted for purposes of determining the extent, if any, of contamination on a property.  An assessment can be informal or formal, and can consist of several stages. A Phase I ESA, or basic study of possible contamination at a site, is   limited to collecting information about past and present site use and observing present conditions. If needed,   a Phase II ESA sometimes follows the Phase I with sampling and analysis of suspected contaminated areas of a site. A Phase III ESA may follow the Phase II assessment by (1) gathering information on the   exact extent of contamination or (2) preparing plans and alternatives for site cleanup.


Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) 

A federal law that governs the investigation and cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances. The law establishes a trust fund that can be used by the government to clean up sites on a National Priorities List.



Environmental Protection Agency


  • Building Housing Accrediation
  • Housing Accreditation