The BERC Brownfields Program promotes the restoration and reuse of contaminated properties. The successful implementation of two U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants between 2004 and 2007, for a combined total of $400,000, resulted in:
- Development of a Sacramento Regional Brownfields Inventory Database
- Six (6) Brownfield Workshops
- Over Two Hundred (200) clients assisted
- Twenty-six (26) environmental consultations for individual property owners
- Thirteen (13) Phase I Environmental Site Assessments
- Twelve (12) Phase II Environmental Site Assessments
The inventory effort was intended to assess the number, acreage, and location of brownfield sites in Sacramento County. The inventory effort found approximately 850 sites with known or suspected contamination. Of these, approximately 525 fit the definition of a brownfield.
Because Sacramento was never a large industrial center, most of its brownfields are associated with commercial, smaller industrial, and transportation uses. These sites include former auto repair facilities, transportation operations, small manufacturers, storage yards, gasoline stations, and shopping centers with dry cleaners. They are typically concentrated along the older urban transportation corridors and near the Sacramento River. An assistance effort to promote the redevelopment of these sites was established to provide a catalyst for renewal in the County’s older commercial corridors and designated Redevelopment Areas.
Involvement with the federal brownfields assessment grant program has allowed Sacramento County to build in-house expertise and pass it along to other local programs and to community revitalization organizations. While BERC staff had some in-house regulatory, investigative, and remedial experience, the capacity building opportunities offered through the grant program, such as the regional and national brownfields conferences, provided staff with necessary technical knowledge. This allowed BERC to work directly with local regulators to better manage project funds by developing cost-effective technical scopes of work.