Brownfield sites and environmental law
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Brownfield Sites And Environmental Law. Objectives: Define brownfields and explain how they form and what laws are in place to clean them up. Humans are poisoning the Earth!. Major accidents Improper disposal of waste Careless, or ignorant use of resources

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Brownfield Sites And Environmental Law

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Brownfield sites and environmental law

Brownfield SitesAnd Environmental Law

Objectives: Define brownfields and explain how they form and what laws are in place to clean them up.

Humans are poisoning the earth

Humans are poisoning the Earth!

  • Major accidents

  • Improper disposal of waste

  • Careless, or ignorant use of resources

  • While trying to fix one problem- creating one that is even worse

Can you identify how?– Think of examples

Bhopal disaster union carbide

Bhopal Disaster – Union Carbide

Pesticide plant producing toxic gases

  • 1983

  • Killed 8000 people

  • Tens of thousands injured

  • 2013

  • Toxic chemicals still contaminate groundwater

Agent orange dioxin in vietnam

Agent Orange/ Dioxin in Vietnam

  • US military used it to defoliate trees- sprayed by the millions of gallons

  • 400,000 were killed or injured

  • 500,000 children born with birth defects

  • Vietnamese and our US soldiers still suffer side effects

Exxon valdez

Exxon Valdez

11 Million Gallons!

This was an oil tanker that ran aground in Alaska spilling hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil

Deepwater horizon bp oil spill

Deepwater Horizon (BP) Oil Spill

210 Million Gallons!

The oil “spill” in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 that spewed oil for 87 days. It was the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry

Chernobyl nuclear power plant soviet union

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant – Soviet Union

April 26, 1986

After the meltdown, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness. 31 died in the next few months.

From 1986 to 2000: 350,400 people were evacuated and resettled from the most severely contaminated areas

Environmental impact of the industrial revolution

Environmental Impact of the Industrial Revolution

(3.5 min)

What is a brownfield

What is a Brownfield?

Piece of land that was once used for industrial purposes and is now typically abandoned because of suspected contamination

Valley of the drums kentucky

Valley of the Drums - Kentucky

  • 23 acre collection site for toxic waste in the 1960s.

  • Some caught fire and burned for more than a week!

  • No laws to address the storage or containment of toxic wastes.

  • Unregulated for another decade.

What is a contaminant

What is a contaminant?

  • A contaminant is a toxic chemical that can harm humans and/or the environment.

  • Contaminants can pollute water, air, and/or soil.




Contaminants of major concern

Contaminants of Major Concern

Lead and copper



Gasoline and oil

Respiratory problems



Mercury and arsenic

Cancer and birth defects


Physical and mental disorders

Where do contaminants come from

Where do contaminants come from?

Why do we keep using technologies and chemicals that harm our environment

Why do we keep using technologies and chemicals that harm our environment?

Economic Incentivesvs. Health and Environmental Impacts

Coal Mining

Natural Gas Fracking

Deep Oil Drilling

Fracking what is it

Fracking – what is it?

Does this site look familiar

Does this site look familiar?

Coscob power plant a brownfield site here in greenwich

CosCob Power Plant – A Brownfield Site here in Greenwich

When we don t know

When we don’t know…

Sometimes we don’t always know that a site is dangerous until people start getting sick

  • Major sign of contaminated area: Start seeing higher than average rates of illnesses

    • - Cancer- Rashes and skin sores

    • - Asthma and lung illnesses- Bone diseases

    • - Birth defects

Love canal

1950’s-1970’s – many suspicious illnesses in this NY neighborhood –

*A woman developed a debilitating weakness and had

to give up working

*a child was born with multiple birth defects

*kids with strange rashes and allergies

*Trees and shrubs dying

*Noxious chemical smells over the neighborhood.

Love Canal

What’s going on???

Love canal1

Love Canal

  • 1942-1953: 22,000 tons of chemical waste dumped by Hooker Corporation

  • 1955: Site filled, land sold for $1, elementary school built on site.

  • 1979 – law suits filed. Schools were shut down. Government programs bought condemned homes and tore them down. Hundreds of families evacuated. Clean up costs have been estimated at $250 million.

Part 1 – six min

Part 2 – six min

History repeats itself this time in woburn ma a civil action

History repeats itself… this time in Woburn, MA– A Civil Action

High rates of leukemia in the area around the wells.

Trichloroethylene contamination of the town's water supply by three different chemical companies.

Have no fear

Have no fear…

Can we fix it? Yes we can!!

Superfundis the common name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), a United States federal law designed to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances.

Remediation making brownfield sites safe and usable again

Remediation: Making Brownfield sites safe and usable again…

  • Identify and measure contaminants

  • Determine the safety risks

  • Stop the contaminants from spreading

  • Remove or isolate the contaminants

Can we fix it? Yes we can!!

Why redevelop brownfield sites

Why Redevelop Brownfield Sites?

  • Discounted real estate cost

  • Valuable location

  • Reduce pressure on undeveloped land

  • Preserve historical or architecturally significant buildings

  • Eliminate health and safety


  • Improve community

We did it charles river boston success story

WE DID IT!!Charles River, Boston – Success Story



In 1955 the Charles River in Boston was so polluted anyone who fell in the river had to get a tetanus shot.

Clean up started in the 1960s and in July 2007 the river hosted its first official swim race in decades.

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