From the Queens Gazette:
Daniel C. Walsh, director of the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) in the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, described many brownfields as “vacant, underutilized properties that remain that way”. Walsh estimated that 85 to 95 percent of brownfield sites in the city are lightly to moderately contaminated . “These sites tend to cluster and bring whole communities down,” he said at the December meeting of the Queens borough cabinet. “They are noncompetitive for development.” Walsh added that cleanup work will begin early in 2011.
Properties remediated through the BCP receive an official notice of completion, including a liability release from the city and a statement from New York state freeing property owners from enforcement action or land remediation under state laws. In addition, a remediate property is issued a New York City Green Property Certification, representing it as protective of public health and the environment.
Owners are also eligible to apply for Brownfield Incentive Grants (BIG), providing them with a way to reduce costs. Eligible sites must be within city limits and have the presence of a hazardous substance within the property’s boundaries.
Additional funding is available for brownfield redevelopment projects that build affordable housing, community facilities, and open spaces. Most are eligible for amounts up to $60,000 in grant funding with an additional $25,000 for a permanent cleanup.
Preferred community development projects, such as affordable housing, are also eligible for up to $100,000 in funding, plus the $25,000 permanent cleanup incentive.
Walsh said New York state officials will continue to oversee the cleanup of the most heavily polluted brownfields in the five boroughs, while New York City supervises the cleanup of less contaminated sites under regulation that conform to state standards.