1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: "Bruce Klafter" <bklafter@orrick.com>
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 13:03:35 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: RE: Definition, VCPs, and Brownfields

I've found this discussion regarding definitions to be rather interesting,
but rather confusing as well.  For me, the overarching point is that
"brownfields" encompasses contaminated properties of all types where reuse
or a new use is proposed.  The property's classification is meaningful, of
course, in terms of what programs the site is eligible for (or doomed to,
depending upon your perspective).  I believe the "real world" perspective is
in accord with that view; developers, governments, community groups and
others are interested in properties generally (depending upon location,
condition, development potential, etc.), not in NPL sites, VCP sites,
petroleum sites and so on.

P.S.  Peter's analysis of the refinery site and the dry cleaner is not
entirely accurate, in my opinion.  The refinery wastes and the dry cleaner
contamination could easily be classified as hazardous waste.  "Hazardous
waste", under federal and California law, includes hazardous substances
(including petroleum hydrocarbons) which have been discarded (a broadly
defined term).  The refinery and dry cleaner clearly intended to discard the
materials (whether by design or otherwise), whether or not the practice was
legal (or at least unregulated) at the time. Without more facts, it's hard
to say which program would control the cleanup of such sites.  If
groundwater were involved, it would be the California Regional Water Quality
Control Board. Where groundwater is not involved, DTSC or a County Health

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter B. Meyer [mailto:PBMEYE02@athena.louisville.edu]
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 1999 9:14 AM
To: cpeo-brownfields@igc.org
Subject: Re: Definition, VCPs, and Brownfields

Emery wanted me to open up the issue of "hazardous waste sites," and
Keith offered a correction I acknowledge -- and opened up with issue
Emery wanted raised.

1. Keith's note references a "contaminated former refinery site" -- and
thus gives an example of a polluted property that is not, in law, a haz
waste site -- which is typically defined in terms of INTENTIONAL
deposits of hazardous wastes. Any old dry cleaner's shop that did what
seemed to be logical at one time - throwing the used up cleaning fluids
out the back door to be absorbed into the ground - is a brownfield, but
is not a haz waste site. Yes, hazardous materials were deposited, but
they were not clearly understood to be hazardous and the disposal
practice was not regulated at the time.
     Other brownfields involve past spills of materials used in
production -- toxics that had immediate value as raw materials, not
wastes. These were not intentionally dposited either, but resulted in
contaminated properties. (Lots of writing - and the Rio Summit's Agenda
21, for that matter - makes the distinction between hazardous industrial
raw materials and hazardous wastes in terms of regulation of transport
and trans-border shipping. I find the distinction inappropriate, but
accept it in order to communicate.)

2. Keith is presumably correct about current practice in Pennsylvania.
He lives and works there. My comment was based on complaints I heard two
years ago from some PA officials about abuse of the "clean"
certification process and excessive demands for the oversight services
of the Department of Environmental Protection (at the time the services
were free; they may no longer be).  I stand corrected. Thanks, Keith,
for the update.

Peter B. Meyer
The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 2736
Louisville, KY 40201
 502/896-9448 or 502/852-8032
 Fax: 502/852-4558

  Prev by Date: Harlem Finally Rides the Economy's 'A' Train
Next by Date: Re: Brownfields & Petroleum
  Prev by Thread: Re: Definition, VCPs, and Brownfields
Next by Thread: Re: Definition, VCPs, and Brownfields -Reply

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index