Brownfields Community-Wide Assessment: Waterfront and Balloon Track Target Area
Reinvesting in brownfield sites can help protect public health and revitalize economic redevelopment in Eureka.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the City of Eureka a Brownfields Assessment Grant totaling $300,000 to inventory, prioritize and conduct environmental assessments, and support community outreach activities for brownfield sites within the Balloon Track and Waterfront areas of Eureka.
Click here to view the recorded Zoom Community-Wide Meeting from Thursday, December 10th, 2020. The meeting includes a discussion on the grant, locations to be assessed, next steps for assessment, environmental remediation planning, potential redevelopment of the sites, and a Q&A session with attendees. Stay tuned for future community meetings in Summer 2021 and Summer 2022.
- What is a Brownfield?
A brownfield site is a property where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse efforts are complicated by the presence or perceived presence of petroleum, hazardous substances, or other contaminants. Common examples are vacant or underutilized properties, including gas stations, auto repair facilities, and older manufacturing sites.
- What will the grants be used for?
The City of Eureka received an assessment grant totaling $300,000. The first grant is a community-wide grant set aside to assess properties potentially impacted by hazardous substances and petroleum. This grant will be used to inventory brownfield sites and conduct a limited number of environmental site assessments to determine if sites are contaminated. All work will be performed within the Balloon Track and Waterfront area in Eureka.
- Why redevelop these sites?
Brownfield sites are often a blight on neighborhoods and can potentially impact the environment. Most brownfields produce little tax revenue and reduce local employment opportunities. Cleaning up and reinvesting in brownfield sites increases the local tax base, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, and improves and protects the environment.
- Are there brownfield sites in Eureka?
Yes, like all cities throughout the United States, Eureka has a number of properties that are idle, vacant or underutilized, and may have contamination that is preventing reuse.
- How are sites inventoried and prioritized?
Community-wide sites are inventoried using a variety of criteria including location, potential contamination, how reuse fits into the City's general plan, community expectations and needs, and other factors. The public is encouraged to help with the prioritization process by participating in community meetings and staying involved.
- How do I participate?
We want to involve as many of our residents, property owners, business owners, and community organizations as possible throughout all stages of this work. If you would like more information, please email Erin McDannold or call 707-441-4177.
- Am I required to get a Phase II done or can I just get a Phase I to find out if there might be an environmental issue on my property?
No. Your project participation may be limited to a Phase I report and you may choose to forgo a Phase II or a Phase II may not be recommended by the Phase I report.
- Does a Phase I involve permitting or ground disturbance?
No permitting or ground disturbance occurs with Phase Is. Phase IIs require permitting and subsurface sampling/ground disturbance, but Phase IIs are not required in order to participate in the project.
- How long does it take to complete Phase Is and IIs?
Individual Phase Is typically take one month to complete. Individual Phase IIs may take up to 2 to 3 months to permit, execute, and report.
- What are the regulatory risks associated with taking part in the City of Eureka Brownfields project?
If a Phase I recommends a Phase II and a Phase II is completed and contamination is found above regulatory action levels, then a State or Local agency may require further delineation of the impact. This could result in opening a regulatory case file and the current landowner would be named as a Responsible Party, along with any previous owners who caused or contributed to the contamination.
- If a regulatory case file is opened as a result of the findings of a Phase II investigation, are there any funding sources available to cover costs?
Numerous grants and loans are available through State programs to address environmental impacts. These grants, however, utilize a competitive selection process and funding is not guaranteed.
- Will participating landowners increase their liability by participating?
You should consult with your legal counsel to evaluate your particular liability situation. Participation in the project may increase your liability. Commercial/industrial properties typically require a Phase I and possibly a Phase II investigation as part of any real estate transaction. Participation in the project is free to eligible landowners/properties and therefore you could save these potential future costs by participating in the project. Landowner environmental liability should decrease once properties are cleared by conducting either a Phase I or a Phase II.
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