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 Management Branch (HWMB) conducts RCRA hazardous waste management activities and is 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 Hazardous Site Reuse and Redevelopment Act (Georgia’s brownfields statute) was amended to include liability protection for purchasers of contaminated sites, provided that 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 HWMB 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 record for properties undergoing voluntary cleanup 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 will be updated as applications for limitations of liability are received. The larger component of the public record for voluntary cleanups consists of the document repository, or site files, available for review at 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. SE, Suite 1154 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 Hazardous Site Reuse and Redevelopment 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 available for review at 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. SE, Suite 1462 East Tower, Atlanta, Georgia, from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. An annual 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 decision.