Brownfields and the Voluntary Cleanup Program

Environmental Training Resource
July 19, 2013 — 1,173 views  
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The Brownfields Voluntary Cleanup Program refers to the conference that is aimed at being proactive in revitalizing old and abandoned buildings. This conference was targeted mainly at local government officials, non-profit organizations, as well as other organizations that focus on community development. Any individual interested in the program may become a part of it, and it is not specific to large organizations alone.

What does Brownfield Mean?

Brownfield refers to a place or building that is presently uninhabitable and in dire need of renovation. This structure potentially has hazardous substances or pollutants present in it. Renovation is quite a difficult task, and the possibility that you may have to deal with hazardous substances makes things worse for the voluntary cleaning programs (VCPs).

The Belief that Brownfields Do Not Exist

There are quite a few officials who believe that brownfields do not exist in their cities. The unfortunate truth is that almost every city has old and abandoned buildings. All these are considered as brownfields. It is unlikely that an entire city has no such structure.

The State Voluntary Cleanup Program in Reference to Brownfields

The main focus of VCPs is to renovate and try to reconstruct these brownfields. It is dangerous to have abandoned buildings in the city because many people may have to walk by them. If these buildings accumulate toxins like methane, for example, it makes the situation all the more hazardous for passers by.

The buildings also have a chance of collapsing while someone may be in the vicinity. The safety of each citizen is vital to the government, which is why such programs are encouraged. Apart from safety, these community developmental organizations do their best to make the physical environment safe for the residents.

The Legal Side to the Program

These VCPs in a way enforce the law as well. Abandoned buildings can prove to be hideouts or grounds for dealing with illegal goods. Although it is unsafe to wander inside such a structure, some people will take advantage of such places since nobody else will be willing to step inside without good reason. Those who do not have homes also use such structures as a place of stay. They go from one abandoned building to another so that it is hard to track them.

A Little History behind the Brownfields Project

The Brownfields voluntary cleanup program supports the VCPs that are set up for the State and Tribes. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of the United States ensures that the separate bodies support and promote each other, to make the program better known. To promote this further, the EPA has given these organizations guidelines by which they may draft their memorandum of agreement (MOA).

The memorandum is published under the title “Interim Approaches for Regional Relations with State Voluntary Cleanup Programs”, on the 14th of November, 1996. It is freely available to anyone to view and follow. The EPA is trying to ensure sustainable development for the nation as a whole.

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