A Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Brownfield Public Record

Georgia’s state response program currently manages a number of cleanup and oversight programs within the various branches of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD). The majority of these activities are carried out under the provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and they include hazardous and solid waste management, emergency response activities, and underground storage tank management. The Hazardous Waste Programs within the Land Protection Branch (LPB) conduct RCRA hazardous waste management activities and are also funded to conduct federal assessment and/or oversight activities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). In addition to these federally funded response activities, the Hazardous Site Response Act (HSRA), Georgia’s state superfund statute, was enacted in 1992 to supplement Georgia’s ability to address releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents. The state response program thus administers cleanup of many types of site impacts, whether resulting from releases of hazardous waste, hazardous constituents, or petroleum.

In the past, many impacted or potentially impacted properties passed through the state response program without triggering action under any federal or state authority. These properties occupied a “no-man’s land” where a lack of state resources for cleanup oversight and approval caused them to languish for years as blighted properties. In 2002, the Georgia Brownfield Act (formerly known as the Hazardous Sites Reuse and Redevelopment Act) was amended to include liability protection for purchasers of contaminated sites, provided that soil cleanup standards are met. This legislation, along with the tax incentive passed in 2003, has resulted in greater attention being focused on redevelopment of contaminated properties statewide. Georgia sought federal funding under the CERCLA 128(a) program, in order to build state capacity to manage cleanup of these properties. The CERCLA 128(a) funding significantly enhances the capability of the state response program, through establishment of a voluntary cleanup program under the LPB of EPD, to enable these properties to proceed more quickly towards cleanup, reuse and revitalization.

Key elements of the FFY2004 efforts under this grant were establishment of the public record and the institutional controls tracking mechanism. Georgia’s Public Listing  for properties undergoing voluntary cleanup pursuant to the Brownfield Act includes this summary, which provides names and locations of properties where response actions have been completed and identifies properties where response actions are planned. The summary also identifies whether the site is suitable for unrestricted use. The summary is updated as applications for limitations of liability are received. The larger component of the public record for voluntary brownfield cleanups consists of the document repository, or site files, available for review by appointment at 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. SE, Suite 1052 East Tower, Atlanta, Georgia, from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The document repository includes all documents that are being relied upon or developed for making cleanup decisions or conducting site activities. It also records a legal description of each property that has been designated as a brownfield, and contains a certification of the appropriate risk reduction standard (residential or non‑residential) for soils on each property, as well as a characterization of groundwater quality. The document repository also includes limitation of liability letters issued pursuant to the Georgia Brownfield Act. These letters function as both “ready for reuse” determinations and prospective purchaser agreements. Files for all properties that have been proposed for a response action, have response actions underway, or have completed response actions are available for review.

The HSRA program maintains a parallel system of site records for the hazardous site inventory properties. Files on state superfund sites include all decision documents, plans, reports, and correspondence related to site condition and site activities. These files are also available for review by appointment at 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. SE, in Suite 1052 East. An annual online publication provides detailed summaries of individual sites and updates the status of cleanups. In addition, the state superfund program also has mandated public notice requirements for site decisions.