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Protecting Public Health in Brownfield Communities

A Brownfield site is land that has been used previously for industrial or even some commercial purposes, and is now contaminated with pollution or toxic or hazardous waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates there are more than 450,000 brownfield sites across the United States, with major implications for environmental and public health.

Public Health Concerns

There are many public health concerns related to brownfield sites. Environmental pollution and contamination, crime in the vicinity of abandoned industrial or commercial properties, and the inherent safety dangers in vacant, run-down sites are but a few of the most common. But public health can be improved through proper analysis and assessment at brownfield sites, and through green remediation using best management practices (BMPs).

Maximizing Redevelopment

When considering redevelopment of brownfield sites, it pays to think outside the box —and to think big. Integrating green and recreational space encourages community use of lands and beneficial outdoor physical activity. Parks and community gardens boost human interaction and help with storm water management.

In addition, building affordable housing, grocery stores, pharmacies and health care facilities improves local economies and, most importantly, overall public health.

Taking Advantage Of The Brownfields Law

The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, also known as the Brownfields Law, gives local governments the chance to connect brownfield sites with public health, by permitting them to allocate up to 10 percent of their federal grants to monitor community health near contaminated sites.

This provision encourages cooperation among federal, tribal, state and local health agencies and community and private sector actors, with the ultimate goal of cleaning up and revitalizing brownfield sites.

Public Health Re-Use

According to the EPA, when brownfield sites are redeveloped with public health facilities, many benefits follow. Besides restoring run-down, polluted sites, members of local communities enjoy better access to health care, jobs and the engines of local economic growth that lead to improved quality of life —and health —for residents.

There is a silver lining to brownfield sites, and it lies in their smart remediation and reuse with an eye toward public health concerns and outcomes.

 

 

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Tampa Location

120 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33603
Phone: (813) 623-1557 x237
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Jacksonville Location

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Jacksonville, Fl 32258
Phone: (904) 268-4119
Fax: (904) 268-4161