Site Mitigation and Restoration Program - Brownfields

Among other types of properties, Site Mitigation and Restoration Program staff provides regulatory oversight for the evaluation and cleanup of brownfields. Brownfields are properties that are contaminated, or thought to be contaminated, and are underutilized due to perceived remediation cost and liability concerns. Many of these properties are in the urban core, near transit and often in underserved communities with housing and economic development needs. Cleaning up brownfield properties not only eliminates the threat to residents and neighborhoods from hazardous substances, it frees this abandoned or underutilized land for productive reuse. Redevelopment of brownfields also takes development pressures off previously undeveloped property, thereby preserving open space and agricultural land.

The State of California and DTSC realize the need for and importance of brownfield redevelopment. To support this priority, DTSC has created programs and administrative vehicles to formalize and streamline the engagement and oversight process. DTSC has several types of voluntary agreements that can be used to provide regulatory oversight for brownfields and other types of properties as well. Note that the decision-making process and environmental assessment and/or cleanup steps under voluntary agreements and for enforcement actions both follow all applicable regulatory requirements and demand the same rigor and scientific scrutiny to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. Both voluntary agreements and enforcement actions are subject to the same public participation process, and DTSC’s public participation process will vary based on the level of community interest in the project or property.

The oversight and engagement process is shown graphically in the flowchart below and accessed via the links in this Quick Reference Guide: