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Brownfields information for Residents

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Background

In a healthy community, the use of urban land often changes to keep pace with changing community needs and demographics.  Sometimes, however, the past use of a properaty can limit its re-use.  It may be difficult, for example, to convert land that was once used as a gas station into a retail/housing complex.  Before this re-use is possible, it is necessary to determine whether the property has been contaminated by the gas (petroleum) that was stored and transported on the proeprty during the time when it was a gas station.  If contamination has occured, it must be cleaned up or "remediated" before the property can be re-used. 

Often times, property owners are so concerned about the cost associated with this clean-up that properties whose past use could possibly have led to contamination are left vacant or underused.  This is sometimes the case even when there is no proof or certainty that the property is actually contaminated.  Rather than being productively re-used as the stores, housing, or public facilities that communities want and need, change on these properties is avoided. These properties are commonly known as "brownfields". 

The goal of the Chula Vista Brownfields Program is to return brownfields properties to productive use.  Using the resources provided by two EPA Communitywide Assessment Grants the City of Chula Vista can help property owners in the Southwest of the City discover whether or not their properties are actually contaminated, and help advise them on the best course of action for cleaning up any contamination that is found. 

Returning these properties to productive use not only makes Chula Vista a more interesting and productive place to live and work, it also helps reduce potential health impacts that may result from contamination on urban properties.  Please go to our "Brownfields Assistance for Property Owners" page to find out more about resources to assist property owners with brownfields concerns. Please go to our Chula Vista Brownfields Blog to find out about recent program accomplishments.

Handouts & Publications

For more information about Brownfields, including handouts and publications, please view/download any of the following PDFs.

Fact Sheets & Flyers

 

Useful Publications from EPA's Web Site

Brownfields FAQs for Residents

Q: Should I be concerned about the impact of brownfields on my health?

According the EPA, Brownfields generally pose “no or limited risks to communities”.  Many brownfields are suspected of being contaminated because of a past use of the property, but may not actually be contaminated.  If they are found to be contaminated, they must be cleaned up before they can be re-used. 

In general, properties that pose a serious threat to community health are identified and cleaned up through other state and federal programs, such as Superfund, the EPA's Underground Storage Tank Program, or the State of California Office of Emergency Response. 

The following EPA web page addresess the question of the public health impact of brownfields:

This EPA website is a portal to the many resources and programs that address public health and contamined properities.

  •  http://www.epa.gov/oswer/riskassessment/

 

Q: What resources can I use to find out about contamination in my community?

The State of California Water Resources Board operates an interactive mapping website called "Geotracker." You can enter an address into the main page, and it will produce a map showing potential environmental concerns in the area of the address you have entered.  It is important to note that many of the listings that come up for any search represent contaminated properties that have already been cleaned up, and which should pose only a limited risk or no risk to community health.

For more information, you can contact Janice F. Kluth, City of Chula Vista Brownfields Senior Project Coordinator at (619) 691-5022 or JKluth@chulavistaca.gov.

 

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