Inside an abandoned building that is undergoing a Brownfields Assessment

By some estimates, 300,000 to 500,000 abandoned commercial and industrial properties dot the cities, towns and counties of the United States. Often with dilapidated buildings or weed-grown open spaces, these properties have come to be known as "brownfields."  The specter of hazardous chemical contamination has contributed to former owners abandoning the property, lending institutions reluctant to provide financing for purchase and redevelopment and developers avoiding the properties. Some of this real estate is located in economically blighted neighborhoods in need of jobs, or in highly desirable redevelopment areas such as waterfronts. Despite the opportunities they represent, the sites remain vacant due to real or perceived hazardous substance contamination and the liability that contamination can bring.

The department's Brownfields/ Voluntary Cleanup Program (BVCP) addresses and oversees brownfield cleanups and promotes redeveloping brownfields for the department. This is done through three different programs: Brownfield Assessments, Voluntary Cleanup and Long-Term Stewardship. More information about these programs is provided below.

If you have a piece of property you think might be contaminated with hazardous substances and you want to clean it up so it is safe, but are not sure where to start, visit the department's Information for Property Owners webpage. For a list of sites that have applied to or are participating in these programs, visit Site Specific Data. For information about loans and sub-grants to support cleanup activities for petroleum or hazardous waste contaminated properties, visit the Environmental Improvement & Energy Resources Authority (EIERA) Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund webpage. For information about incentives for redeveloping and revitalizing brownfields through the Missouri Brownfield Redevelopment Program, visit the department's Brownfields Redevelopment webpage.

Brownfields Assessments

Under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the department's BVCP staff conduct brownfields site-specific assessments on properties for not-for-profit organizations and public entities, such as cities, counties and quasi-governmental entities. Local governments acquire contaminated properties through foreclosure for back taxes, land donations or may own property they would like to sell for redevelopment purposes. These entities sometimes have difficulty finding enough funding to pay for environmental assessments before redevelopment. The brownfields assessment program provides technical assistance to help communities assess properties.  


Voluntary Cleanup

First established by the state legislature in 1994, the department’s Voluntary Cleanup Program provides state oversight for voluntary cleanups of properties contaminated with hazardous substances. Many of the sites entering the program are not heavily contaminated, and are contaminated by sources not addressed by any of the department’s regulatory groups, such as Emergency Response, Superfund, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or Petroleum Storage Tanks.

Nevertheless, the property owners, business operators or prospective buyers want the property cleaned up to standards acceptable to the state, and to receive some type of cleanup certification from the department. This certification can greatly reduce the environmental liability associated with these properties. In situations where residual contamination is safely left on the property after a certificate of completion is issued, an environmental covenant is placed in the property chain-of-title and the site enters long-term stewardship. To apply to the Voluntary Cleanup Program, complete the application form below and submit the application and fee to the department. Information about the application fee and other costs is available on the department's Hazardous Waste Fees webpage. 



Long-Term Stewardship

Long-term stewardship includes all activities necessary to reliably prevent residual contamination or other environmental conditions from posing a risk to human health or the environment following completion of cleanup, disposal or stabilization at a site. Long-term stewardship activities include inspection, maintenance, information management and distribution and public awareness. For more information, see Long-Term Stewardship (LTS).



Additional Information

Laws and Regulations

Printed copies of the state and federal regulations can be viewed at any of the departments' regional offices, the Missouri State Library, the U.S. Depository Libraries and most public libraries.