Waste Programs Division

What are Brownfields?

Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties where reuse is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination. The spaces may include sites contaminated by hazardous substances, petroleum or mine-scarred land. 


Properties must fit all three criteria to be considered brownfields:

  • It is an underused commercial or industrial site.
  • It has redevelopment potential.
  • The sites redevelopment potential is complicated by known or perceived contamination from a hazardous substance as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) Hazardous Substances.   


Brownfields could be:

  • Abandoned gas stations, old factories, mills and foundries
  • Airports and landing strips
  • Landfills and dump sites
  • Mine-scarred lands
  • Old dry cleaners
  • Junkyards
  • Old auto repair shops

Community Effects

ADEQ recognizes the impact these brownfields can have on a community, particularly properties with unresolved environmental issues. Brownfields are often abandoned, with owners no longer maintaining the space or paying taxes. Abandoned properties can quickly become local blights and may attract vandalism and illegal dumping. They degrade the environment, depress communities and potentially put human health at risk.

Brownfields Revitalization Benefits

Revitalizing brownfields involves transforming these properties into something new, from neighborhood parks to commercial or retail spaces. Redeveloping brownfields has the potential to reduce environmental hazards, create new business opportunities, increase tax revenue and restore blighted areas to productive use. Redevelopment may also prove less expensive than construction on previously undeveloped land because they typically have favorable locations (near potential markets and labor) and infrastructure already in place.

Brownfields Assistance Program

Cities, towns, counties, non-profit organizations and some tribes may apply for funding through ADEQ’s Brownfields Assistance Program. Each fiscal year (July 1 through June 30), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides funding under a State Response Grant for Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments or cleanup activities. An environmental assessment will provide the applicant with a final report that:
  • Reveals whether a site is clean or contaminated.
  • Determines the nature and extent of the contamination.
  • Identifies potential cleanup options.
  • Estimates cleanup costs, if any.

To learn more or apply for the program, contact Jennie Curé at 602-771-2296.

Brownfields State Response Grant Application | Download >