The Term Brownfield applies to contaminated industrial and commercial sections that are available for re-use. Development in a Brownfield area can face problems due to various types of contaminations from earlier use or simply because of natural soil conditions. The soil in these areas can contain hazardous waste, combustibles and /or pollutants of any kind.
The term "Brownfield" has its origins from a 1992 hearing of the U.S. congress. The Unites States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated its first pilot project in Brownfield areas in September of 1993, selecting Cuyahoga County as its first area to develop.
Usually Brownfield sites exist in industrial locations where commercial and industrial facilities as well as abandoned factories are present. Current or abandoned oil wells, gas stations, dry cleaners, warehouses, etc. drive contaminations in the soil that can lead to Brownfield conditions. These sites may sit abandoned for quite a few years after closing down, and must be remediated, mitigated, or otherwise "cleaned-up" in order to be developed and re-used. Contaminants found in Brownfield sites can include (but are not limited to) hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, lead and other heavy metals, asbestos, and combustibles.
Investigation and cleanup of Brownfield sites is mainly regulated by government environmental agencies, largely in cooperation with the EPA. Many policies and codes vary from state to state, and even from city to city. Specialized Brownfield specialist like Raycon Environmental have the knowledge and equipment to manage these Brownfield areas so they can be built upon.
In Los Angeles County, the Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) regulated development in Brownfield areas throughout most of the County. Exceptions include Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and large portions of the southern part of the county. Within LADBS jurisdiction large locations of contamination exist, primarily in the downtown Los Angeles area. This particular Brownfield region has been dubbed the "methane zone" because of high concentrations of methane gas in the soil. Here is a map of the Los Angeles Methane Zone. Development in this area requires compliance with LADBS codes to confirm that hazards posed by the methane are mitigated prior to, or during the construction process. Consulting an experienced company such as Raycon Environmental will ensure your process will comply with LADBS.
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Map of Los Angeles Methane Zone, The large Brownfield in LA.
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