Chad Pigg Joins EnviroForensics Development Team as Director of Brownfields and Economic Development

EnviroForensics is proud to announce that Chad Pigg has joined our redevelopment team as its Director of Brownfields and Economic Development. We have been specializing in the municipal sector to help revitalize brownfields and manage environmental claims.

EnviroForensics’ CEO Steve Henshaw says, “Chad understands the unique challenges that municipalities face in restoring contaminated properties to productive use.  He has a strong knowledge of how the funding mechanisms for municipalities work and how we can clean-up contaminated properties and create large tracks of land, within city boundaries, for developers bringing much needed housing to cities and towns”.

Chad Pigg brings over 25 years of experience in the municipal financing and environmental remediation field, starting at IDEM and later for the City of Anderson as Director of Operations for the Engineering Department, Brownfield Coordinator, and Executive Director of Economic & Community Development. Since 2008, he has been working in the private sector to develop comprehensive solutions to redevelopment challenges in both public and private sectors.

If you have any questions about Brownfields Redevelopment, contact us today.


Cleaning Up and Restoring Contaminated Properties for Development— Finding Valuable Property Amongst The Blight


The American Midwest has been home to industry and agriculture since the beginning of the 20th century. Relying heavily on strong labor forces, accessible transportation routes, and a proximity to a significant portion of the nation’s total population, Indiana was a leader in manufacturing that involved steel, glass, and rubber to support the automotive industry. As plastics developed, so too did Indiana’s place as a leader in its manufacturing.

Factories sprouted up in cities and towns across the state, often built near the town’s center, so workers could walk to the factories. As the recession in the 1970s and 80s took its toll, and companies began moving manufacturing overseas, the lifeblood of these communities ceased, leaving behind decaying factories and decades of legacy contamination. Factories that once provided jobs by the hundreds became eyesores to communities, driving down property values, leaving environmental contamination, and robbing cities and towns of a vital tax base. Mayors, city councils, and economic development departments continue to grapple with these legacy problem sites.

Concurrently, there is a critical demand for housing stock. Virtually every municipality is grappling with a pressing demand for additional housing. Short of expanding the city limits and annexing land, finding 10, 20 and 30-acre tracts of land to build new housing is extremely challenging. It is for this reason that we believe these old legacy factories should be given new life as sites for residential and mixed-use developments.

EnviroForensics has been on the forefront of this resurgence, having remediated old manufacturing sites, while finding the money for the clean-up costs. A great example of this is in the City of Wabash, where Mayor Long, before he became Mayor, urged the authorities to do something with the former GenCorp. (now known as Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc.) plant that sat in the heart of Wabash on 30-acres of land.

In 2007, the manufacturing plant’s shutdown marked the beginning of its downfall, culminating in job losses for more than 600 employees and the cessation of property tax payments. The property was then auctioned by the County. The owners stripped the building of its salvageable metals and demolished the building leaving behind piles of rubble. In addition, the soil and groundwater beneath the property is grossly contaminated with hazardous substances including chlorinated solvents and PCBs, posing a significant risk to human health.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management pursued the company that caused the environmental contamination at the property; that company eventually responded by proposing an unsatisfactory cleanup plan that would leave a massive amount of contamination in place, put a deed restriction on the property, and prevent the property from ever being utilized for anything other than a park. While parks are great, Wabash already has a 25-acre park a stone’s throw from this property.

Mayor Long persisted in his efforts to guide the property back into productive reuse, and in November 2020, the City acquired title to the property from the County. The City then put together a team that included EnviroForensics, a law firm, and a development partner to assess what it would take to clean the property to a level that would support a mixed-use development while pursuing the company that caused the environmental contamination for the cost of clean-up. Reflecting on the collaborative effort, Mayor Long remarked, “As a government leader, you cannot be an expert in everything that comes your way. Networking with experts at events I have attended led to me finding the people who could get the job done for the City of Wabash.”

The City is poised to clean up the property, and the City’s development partner is scheduled to build 15 single-family houses, 42 starter houses (bungalows), and a 100-unit apartment complex to help address the City’s housing shortage. Properly addressing the contamination at the property is key for increasing housing opportunities for Wabash’s residences, increasing the city’s tax base, and cleaning up the environment. This optimal redevelopment far outweighs the value of leaving the contamination in place as a park.

This model of cleaning up contaminated properties and restoring them to residential and commercial use is not unique to this site, although you need a commitment from leadership in order to be successful. At EnviroForensics, we have worked to settle tens of millions of dollars of claims that have funded environmental clean-up and legal costs for hundreds of clients.  With the right set of facts, a skilled team, and a strong stakeholder, we can clean up environmental contamination and allow blighted sites new life as redeveloped productive properties. Emphasizing the importance of perseverance in these endeavors, Mayor Long stated, “While this was a daunting task, you have to take action to make cleanup happen, and you have to be in it for the long haul. I am thankful to have assembled a team on the environmental and litigation side with a wealth of experience who can best guide me in making appropriate decisions.”

If you have any questions about Brownfields Redevelopment or any other environmental matter, please contact us at your convenience.

What are Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)?

In this article, EnviroForensics’ Senior Project Manager R. Scott Powell shares his expertise on PCB contamination, remediation, and mitigation, and provides a 101 introduction to this man-made organic chemical. Scott has worked on a variety of projects with PCB contamination across the Midwest.

Do you have a PCB issue?

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are man-made organic chemicals that were manufactured from approximately 1929 through 1979 when they were banned. PCBs were included in the manufacturing process of many materials and incorporated into products during this timeframe. At that time, the health risks of PCBs were not well understood or commonly known. PCBs were desired for their non-flammable, chemically stable, high boiling point, and insulating properties. PCB containing equipment, materials, and oils were regularly managed without sufficient care causing personnel and environmental exposures.

12 chemical structures for dioxin-like PCBs. Source

In 1976, the United States (U.S.) Congress passed the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), which included regulations on PCBs and included the ban on the manufacturing or use of PCBs and other chemicals after December 1979. Because of PCB’s extensive use in the electrical utility sector, Congress did leave a caveat in the TSCA rules that allowed for PCBs to be used in equipment in a “totally enclosed manner” such as a transformer.

After the 1979 ban on the manufacturing of PCBs and PCB containing equipment, the most common source of PCB contamination on properties was from spills and releases from old leaking transformers, capacitors, and other electrical equipment that were left in service after the ban. These were generally addressed in the 1980s through the 2000s. However, unreported historical spills are still encountered to this day due to the chemical stability of PCBs.

Other potential sources of PCBs on your property can be from old equipment or other legacy materials such as: building caulking, window glazing, waste oil tanks, hydraulic equipment, oil-based paints, fluorescent light ballasts, thermal insulation, adhesives, large compressors, asphalt roofing materials, floor finishing, pesticides, printing inks, and wood treatment chemicals.

What are the health risks of PCBs?

The most common exposure routes of PCBs are direct contact and ingestion. Direct contact is likely from areas of PCB spills or leaking PCB containing equipment. Ingestion can be from improper hand washing after touching PCB contaminated areas or the consumption of fish or game in PCB contaminated areas. PCBs are a bioaccumulating molecule that collects in organisms and biomagnifies, which means that concentrations become more concentrated as they travel up the food chain.

An example of biomagnification of PCBs in the food chain. Source

PCBs are metabolized by the monooxygenase system (human metabolism of drugs) causing toxicity and can bond to proteins, RNA, and DNA causing DNA breakdown. Known human effects include dermal lesions, respiratory problems, reproductive and developmental problems, endocrine effects (thyroid problems), liver damage, liver cancer, stomach cancer, intestinal cancer, thyroid cancer, cardiovascular problems, musculoskeletal problems, and neurological problems, to name a few.

What is the current state of PCB use and what are my exposures?

PCBs have not been included in the manufacturing of materials in the U.S. since the 1979 ban. However, legacy issues remain at many properties.

PCB containing equipment that was manufactured before 1979 was allowed to remain in operation as long as the equipment maintained the PCBs in a “totally enclosed manner”. Some of these pieces of equipment can still be found in operation today such as fluorescent light ballasts and electrical transformers.

This is a photo of a former oil-filled transformer that had leaked from an elevated pedestal in an industrial building.
This is a photo of concrete stained with PCB containing transformer dielectric oil.

Though some of the initial PCB cleanup actions concentrated on the most prominent and visible PCB oil spills, other materials have been found to be PCB sources at facilities. Building caulking that was manufactured in the 1950s through the 1970s readily contained varying concentrations of PCBs. Even after the 1979 ban, these materials were stored and sold years after the ban since they met the exceptions of being manufactured before the ban was in place. Therefore, some structures built in the 1980s were subsequently contaminated during construction with PCB caulk. The PCB in caulk has been shown to migrate into the adjacent building materials, and as the caulk weathers that can migrate down to the soil.

Until recently, a prominent practice with a lasting effect can still be found at some sites today, which consisted of spraying down gravel parking lots and drives with waste oil to keep the dust down. Many times these waste oils contained PCBs.

One of the most extensive PCB impacted media is sediments along waterways and coastal areas. PCBs applied and used on land for agricultural, commerce, or industry follow the surface drainage, sewer drain lines, and other sedimentation paths flowing along drainage pathways to water bodies. Waterways receive sediment from multiple sources and subsequently distribute contaminants along their flow paths. PCBs are hydrophobic, which means that they are heavier than water and do not degrade readily, so they tend to settle into the sediments and get picked up by bottom-feeding organisms, which allows them to follow the food chain up to the top predators.

The examples above outline some of the more common legacy issues that can be found on properties; however, there are many other potential pathways and sources for PCB exposure. Knowing the historical operations and maintenance practices on your property will provide some guidance on exposure risks.

Do I need to mitigate or remediate PCBs at my property?

Though PCB toxicity varies between the different PCB species (carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine combinations), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) looks at the total PCB concentration for regulatory risk assessment and material management. Under the self-implementing cleanup rules [40 CFR 761.61(a)], response actions for PCB impacts and wastes are based on the class of the material (such as bulk PCB remediation waste, porous surfaces, non-porous surfaces, and liquids) and the area occupancy time (such as low-occupancy or high-occupancy). Material class and occupancy should be determined by your environmental consultant following 40 CFR 761.61(a). As a rule of thumb, materials below the threshold limits can generally remain in place while materials that exceed their appropriate threshold limits may need to be mitigated or removed.

Below are some of the most common PCB impact conditions and risk mitigation approaches found today. If you have any of these situations present on your property, you should contact an appropriately trained environmental professional to address your specific site needs.

  • PCB impacts on non-porous materials like metal, glass, epoxy coatings, etc. may be able to be washed off and demonstrated through sampling to be “clean” requiring no further remedial action.
  • Porous surfaces like concrete, porcelain, brick, etc. may be able to be cleaned, but more likely than not, they will need to be sealed with a solvent resistant coating applied in two layers. When the PCB impacts of porous materials exceed 10 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), the material may have to be removed and disposed of appropriately.
  • PCBs in the soil can remain in place with no action required when concentrations in the soil are less than 1 mg/kg, but when the concentration reaches or exceeds 1 mg/kg the soil will have to be removed or covered with an engineered control such as “clean” soil or pavement. If the PCB concentration in the soil exceeds 10 mg/kg, then it may have to be removed and appropriately disposed of.
  • PCB containing equipment can remain in service as long as it is in good condition. PCB equipment noted to be leaking will have to be replaced. Property owners disposing of PCB equipment will need to do so at an appropriately licensed landfill.

In addition, property owners need to be cautious of PCBs in sewers since the TSCA regulations have a PCB discharge limit of 3 micrograms per liter (µg/L) for liquids and 3 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg) for solids. Though you may have a gravel parking lot with total PCB concentrations less than 1 mg/kg, requiring no additional action, the surface sediment can be transported to the storm or sanitary sewers during rain events. If this is a potential condition at your property, the sewer sediment and water will need to be sampled. If the materials within the sewer exceed the discharge limit of 3 µg/L for water or 3 µg/kg for sediment, then mitigation and/or remediation actions would be warranted to cease offsite exposure.

Site conditions, property use, and negotiations with U.S. EPA through your trusted environmental consultant will dictate mitigation and/or remedial actions appropriate for your property through a self-implemented approach, a performance-based approach, or a risk-based approach.

R. Scott Powell, PE, Senior Project Manager

Mr. R. Scott Powell is a Senior Project Manager with over 20 years of environmental consulting experience. Mr. Powell’s expertise covers a wide variety of projects ranging from due diligence, LUST/petroleum, hazardous material remediation, asbestos, lead-based paint, remedial actions, to remedial systems. He manages complex relationships fostering the cohesive involvement of several parties on multiple sites with co-mingled contaminant plumes requiring the implementation of remedial solutions for chlorinated solvents, hazardous materials, and petroleum hydrocarbon impacts. He has extensive experience with environmental regulatory compliance, including Clean Water Act (CWA), Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA), Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), and Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). Mr. Powell manages negotiations with state and federal regulatory agencies, provides litigation support in matters concerning environmental issues, and acts as a third-party reviewer of work performed by others.

Four Types of Brownfields Redevelopment Financing That Are Not Grants

Finding Brownfields funding and securing it can be challenging for municipalities. When applying for EPA Brownfields grants, there’s about a 65% possibility that your request could be denied losing all hope for EPA funding for the coming year. So, whether you’re replacing or supplementing, your EPA grant funding sources, here are four other financing resources.

Municipalities across the country have abandoned industrial and commercial properties—from old manufacturing platers, metal platers, and oil distributors, to dry cleaners, gas stations, and manufacturers—that are affected by environmental contamination. Redeveloping blighted, underutilized, and contaminated properties, while protecting public health and the environment, require a strategic and well-designed plan to ensure the property turns back into a productive piece of the community and an improved tax- base for your city. And to do this, you need funding.

Brownfields Financing Sources

So, you didn’t receive the EPA Brownfields grant that you had hoped to receive for your city. Luckily, there are other funding opportunities for financing your environmental investigation and cleanup. These opportunities can be made available to municipalities and developers through economic development incentives and insurance claim settlements.

Remnants of an old abandoned industrial facility with graffiti on the walls.

What Are the Four Types of Brownfields Funding?

Outside of the EPA’s Brownfields grant program, municipalities do have alternative funding options available, and with the right partners and strategies in place, those options are readily accessible. The top four options include:

1. Confidential Insurance Archeology
Confidential Insurance Archeology® searches for old CGL insurance policies that can be used to pay for environmental investigation, remediation, and legal fees. Insurance archeology restores financial viability to contaminated properties and gives cities an opportunity to fund the environmental cleanup necessary for their Brownfield sites.

2. Potentially Responsible Party Search
A Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) search can identify and locate former property owners and site operators along with the documentation needed to hold them accountable for a potential contribution to the environmental contamination that links them to the site.

3. Municipal Development Incentives
Municipal development incentives are available from local or state sources and can assist with the cost of environmental and infrastructure work. Examples include:

  • The Industrial Grant Fund (IDGF) encourages municipalities and other eligible groups to redevelop properties by providing assistance to fund infrastructure enhancements including sidewalks, airport facilities, rail spurs, fiber-optic lines, etc.
  • The Community Revitalization Enhancement District (CReED) credit allows applicants to redevelop or rehabilitate properties within a CReED, and includes tax credits for costs incurred during environmental remediation activities.
  • The Industrial Recovery Tax Credit (Dino) credit allows applicants to receive tax credits on expenditures related to the rehabilitation of industrial properties that are at least 100,000 sq.ft. in size. Eligible costs include property acquisition, environmental remediation, and other hard costs.
  • The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is available for local governments to help finance both new development and the development of blighted areas.

4. State Trust Funds
State trust funds are available for sites ranging from underground storage tanks left behind at old gas stations, to PCE (Perc) or TCE remediation for dry cleaning solvents used at old dry cleaning businesses. If your city has old gas stations or dry cleaning sites with contamination, there may funding opportunities that can be tapped into to clean up these sites. Read more about state trust funds for dry cleaners.

If you’ve already completed a Brownfields redevelopment project, you can try to use a cost-recovery claim to be reimbursed for costs already incurred. While there is no guarantee you will recover 100% of what you spent on the cleanup, you should be able to recover some of your costs if you can locate and prove that there were policies in place that would defend you against environmental liability. Each case is specific and depends on each state’s case law to determine how your insurance policies would apply.

How Do I Use These Other Funding Resources?

If you didn’t receive EPA Brownfields grant funding, or only received enough funds to pay for a portion of your Brownfields projects, then you should:

  1. Find an environmental consultant that can locate all available funding options for your Brownfields property, including your historical insurance policies.
    The bottom line is there are billions of dollars in unclaimed assets available to parties looking to defend environmental claims. If you are a municipality or business needing to manage your historical, current, or future environmental liabilities, you can use these insurance assets to evaluate and clean up your Brownfields site.
  2. Find an environmental consultant that can interface with your insurance carriers on your behalf.
    For over 25 years, EnviroForensics has been working with insurance carriers to unlock previously untapped policy coverage. We fight for our clients’ funding needs and have worked with companies and organizations ranging from mom and pop businesses to Fortune 100 companies.
  3. Find an experienced environmental consultant that can take care of your Brownfield sites from beginning to end.
    From site investigation and cleanup to litigation support and site closure, EnviroForensics will handle your environmental liability.
A team meeting to discuss project details.

EnviroForensics helps community leaders convert blighted and contaminated properties into valuable community assets that are ready for redevelopment. From due diligence to redevelopment, EnviroForensics is invested in revitalizing properties to better serve the surrounding communities. We manage all aspects of the environmental cleanup to ensure your redevelopment goals are reached. Our specialty services provide a less costly way to redevelop Brownfields.

Contact us today to begin your path to redevelopment with alternative funding options

How Do You Remediate Hexavalent Chromium Cr(VI)?

Hexavalent chromium is a highly mobile and toxic contaminant often found at manufacturing sites. Here we dive into the details and look at how to remediate this contaminant.

While a lot of environmental investigation and remediation work involves chlorinated hydrocarbon impacts, it is important to remember that this class of chemicals is just one of the hundreds that can impact sites. The contaminant that environmental consultants seem to be encountering more often at manufacturing sites is hexavalent chromium or Cr(VI).

Hexavalent chromium is used in chrome plating operations because it increases hardenability and corrosion resistance and has desirable finishing characteristics for industrial manufacturers. Chromite is used as a raw material for the production of chromium chemicals. Chromium alloys are used to make products such as oil tubing, automobile trim, and cutlery.

What is hexavalent chromium?

Like a lot of metals, chromium can occur in various valence or charge states. The two most common states are the trivalent (Cr+3) and hexavalent (Cr+6). While both are chromium, they behave differently. Trivalent chromium has relatively low toxicity, low solubility, and low mobility in the environment. By contrast, hexavalent chromium is toxic, has a higher solubility and greater mobility in the environment. Hexavalent chromium has historically been used in chrome plating operations because it is less costly than plating with trivalent chromium.

Chromium in the periodic table.
Chromium in the periodic table.

What are the exposure concerns for hexavalent chromium?

In addition to chromium plating operations, hexavalent chromium is used in a number of industrial processes such as leather tanning, colored glass making and in paint pigments and inks that color plastics and fabrics. Widespread industrial use can result in worker exposure to toxic hexavalent chromium. It’s estimated that over 500,000 workers are potentially exposed to Cr(VI) in the USA. Typically, people who are exposed to Cr(VI) work in welding and other types of “hot work” involving stainless steel and other materials containing chromium, use pigments or operate chrome plating baths. The public’s use of groundwater resources impacted by hexavalent chrome is another source of exposure.

Hexavalent chromium is known to cause cancer and targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin, and eyes. It is hazardous when breathed in, ingested, or touched. You might remember this contaminant from the movie “Erin Brockovich” with Julia Roberts, in which it was the subject of a massive lawsuit.

What is the regulatory enforcement for hexavalent chromium?

Regulatory agencies typically have screening levels for total chromium and then even lower screening levels for hexavalent chromium. Hexavalent chromium is heavily regulated to minimize human exposure. According to the EPA, they are continually re-evaluating drinking water standards to ensure that they are incorporating the latest research on the chemical.

How do you remediate hexavalent chromium?

Since hexavalent chromium is an element that cannot be destroyed, it has to either be physically removed by excavating soil or pumping and treating groundwater or transformed to the less toxic trivalent form and stabilized within the subsurface environment by forming insoluble and immobile trivalent hydroxide precipitates and iron and sulfide complex co-precipitates. Luckily, this transformation can be performed using many of the same injectable chemicals that are used at chlorinated sites for in-situ chemical reduction (ISCR) and enhanced reductive dechlorination (ERD).

The chemical reaction between hexavalent chromium and ZVI reduces the concentration levels of hexavalent chromium and creates a less toxic daughter product, or transformed version of the contaminant, called trivalent chromium. Trivalent chromium further reacts with other minerals in the subsurface to create less water-soluble compounds. The result is that the remaining chromium is less toxic, less soluble and less mobile in the environment. The resulting trivalent chromium impacted soil can remain in place without removal and with less concern of further migration of any remaining contamination. 

EnviroForensics recently pilot tested some of these injectable compounds with zero-valent iron (ZVI) at a hexavalent chromium contaminated site in the Midwest. A full implementation design plan was prepared for the reduction of hexavalent chromium and stabilization in both soil and groundwater.

Case Study: Remediating Cr(VI) at a Former Wire Plating Site

At a wire manufacturing company, hexavalent chromium plating operations were performed from 1963 to 1981. The operation was discontinued in 1981 and the chrome plating equipment was dismantled and sold in 1982 as part of the decommissioning process. In 1985, the site was sold to new owners that do not perform chrome plating operations. Prior to the sale, the inside of the plating facility was cleaned of all chrome plating residue; however, releases to the subsurface environment had occurred during past plating operations.

In 1985, a sump pump in the former plating facility failed and the water that began seeping into the basement was stained yellow. The water was tested and was found to contain high concentrations of hexavalent chromium.

Since 1985, several rounds of subsurface investigations have been performed by multiple environmental consultants to better determine the extent of chromium impacts in soil and groundwater. A groundwater recovery and treatment system was initially installed in 1988 to collect and treat groundwater. The treatment system removed some chromium over time, however, it had been inefficient at addressing the source of groundwater impacts. This means there’s still chromium in the soil and groundwater.

In 2013, EnviroForensics was contacted to work on this site. After evaluating all likely remedial options, a ZVI option was chosen as the most practical and effective for reducing source area impacts within a reasonable time.

A ZVI pilot test was performed at the site and has already shown large decreases in groundwater hexavalent chromium concentrations. A plan for full-scale in-situ mixing has been presented and approved by the environmental regulatory agency. The result of choosing ZVI as the remedial action will likely lead to site closure within the next two years.

Staying ahead of environmental contaminants

There is a lot to know about the sampling, chemistry, and remediation of hexavalent chromium to stay at the forefront of monitoring this environmental contaminant.

We’re proud to have some of the smartest minds working hard to find remediation solutions for these sites.

Contact us to learn more about environmental contaminants like hexavalent chromium.


Brad Lewis, CHMM, Principal Scientist at EnviroForensics

Brad Lewis is a detailed-oriented and collaborative leader with 30+ years of environmental consulting experience that covers a variety of projects ranging from due diligence, environmental compliance, landfill, Brownfields, underground storage tank, and chlorinated hydrocarbon investigations and cleanups. As Principal Scientist, he oversees investigations and cleanups. He helps project teams set the technical and regulatory strategies that will meet their client’s goals. Lewis has implemented many innovative site investigation strategies including the use of down-hole sensing equipment, mobile laboratory, and an immunoassay to characterize sites.

He has consulted on many high-profile projects dealing with petroleum hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, hexavalent chromium, chlorinated solvents, bedrock impacts, vapor intrusion investigations, and vapor mitigation. 

9 Cool Historic Places in Indiana

Every May, the National Register of Historic Places celebrates National Preservation Month for the purpose of instilling community pride and to show the social and economic benefits of historic preservation.

As an environmental consulting firm with a deep respect for history and community, EnviroForensics promotes the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. We believe that redevelopment often times brings much-needed economic relief to depressed areas, and when possible the preservation of timeless architectural design provides a beneficial window to the past.

To show our support for National Preservation Month, our Indianapolis team has compiled some photos and stories of our favorite historic structures right here in Indiana.

picture of Indiana Statehouse

1. Indiana Statehouse

Indianapolis, Indiana | View from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument.

Designed by Hoosier architect Edwin May in 1888, the Indiana Statehouse is the fifth iteration and sits at 200 West Washington Street. It houses the Indiana General Assembly, the office of the Governor of Indiana, the Supreme Court of Indiana and other state officials. The interior was modeled in the Italian Renaissance style. When possible, native Indiana materials were used. Doors are made of Indiana oak, and Indiana limestone was used throughout the structure. Over 40 pieces of public art spanning more than 130 years is available to the public. There’s also a time capsule bored into the cornerstone with forty-two items.

📸: Elizabeth Hemingway, Director of Brand, Marketing & Communications


Picture of willard carpenter house2. Willard Carpenter House

Evansville, Indiana

Completed in 1849, the Willard Carpenter House at 405 Carpenter Street is built of brick and stone, a fine example of Georgian architecture. Materials came from nearby or were shipped down the Ohio River from Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Willard Carpenter was known as Evansville’s “pioneer of public charity,” who acted as an agent for the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. The house was one of the first stops after making it across the Ohio River. A stone tunnel led from the river three blocks away north to the Carpenters basement, where people hid until they could be relayed to stations further north. The Carpenter House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

📸: Elizabeth Hemingway, Director of Brand, Marketing & Communications


inside pearl laundry3. Pearl Laundry

Evansville, Indiana | View from inside.

Pearls Laundry started in 1896 by Al Rust and Daniel Korb and it has been based at the 414-432 Market Street since 1912. It did deliveries by horse and buggy until 1938.  In 2017, Pearl Cleaners closed its century-old Downtown Evansville location, amid litigation by the neighboring property, which says it is owed a reimbursement of environmental contamination costs. The business license was purchased, and customers were directed to a new location on Evansville’s East Side.

Like many dry cleaners, Pearls had chlorinated solvent contamination. The contaminated property was purchased by an investor, who retained EnviroForensics to conduct insurance archeology and the environmental investigation and cleanup.  The environmental cleanup is almost complete at the historical Pearl Cleaner building in Evansville’s downtown TIF district. It’s undergoing adaptive reuse to become a part of the dynamic downtown community, while EnviroForensics conducts remedial actions necessary to get the site through the regulatory closure process.

📸: Elizabeth Hemingway, Director of Brand, Marketing & Communications


EnviroForensics HQ before (right side of picture) and after (left side of picture) redevelopment.

4. EnviroForensics Headquarters

Indianapolis, Indiana

EnviroForensics’ headquarters at 825 N. Capitol Avenue was originally a transmission repair shop dating back to the 1930s. The 23,000 sq. ft. structure had environmental contamination left behind by auto repair operations. This complicated redevelopment for real estate developers, but, as an expert environmental engineering company, we knew how to remediate the environmental contamination and saw the value of investing in the property and the North Meridian neighborhood. We conducted insurance archeology to locate the historical insurance policies to fund the site investigation and cleanup of the contamination. Once mitigation infrastructure was in place, we started to bring our vision for a revitalized headquarters to life. Now, the building houses more than 70 employees who are committed to our surrounding community.

For more on how we revitalized the historical building, visit

📸: Alex Miller, Communications Coordinator


central library in downtown Indianapolis6. Indianapolis Central Library

Indianapolis, Indiana

The original Central Library Building, located just a few blocks east of the EnviroForensics Headquarters, was completed in 1917. The library was designed by French-born architect Paul Philippe Cret, whose other famous work includes the Main Building on the Campus of the University of Texas and the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. A new six-story curved-glass and steel addition was built onto the original structure in 2001, but issues with the project forced the grand opening of the new atrium back. The new addition opened in December of 2007. The Central Library is home to the Nina Mason Pulliam Indianapolis Special Collections Room, which houses a collection of archival manuscripts and autographed editions from some of the area’s most famous literary minds, including Kurt Vonnegut, James Whitcomb Riley, and Booth Tarkington.   

📸: Alex Miller, Communications Coordinator


7. Hirschman-Bryan House

Indianapolis, Indiana

Andrea Bryan’s great-grandfather, Conrad Hirschman, was born in 1854 in Wurttemberg, Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1880.  He built this house for his wife, Emma, and their children, one of which was Andrea’s grandmother, Ursula. She married and lived in this house her entire life (after her emigration) and all three of her children were born in the back bedroom of the house, one of which was Andrea’s Father.  Ursula’s husband, Andrea’s Grandfather, fought in WWI and came home after the war. He died in the flu epidemic shortly thereafter and my Grandmother never remarried. All three of Ursula’s sons went into the Navy and served in WWII.

The house was built in 1900 at 3100 sq. ft. with an attic, a basement, and a crawl space. The current owner is Angie’s List who used it for office space at one time. There is a plaque inside with the historical information related to Andrea’s family.

📸: Andrea Bryan, Reception and Office Support


8. Indiana University Auditorium

Bloomington, Indiana

The Indiana University Auditorium opened in 1941 as a part of the Federal Works Agency Project. At the time, the country was still recovering from the Great Depression, and most universities were making cuts to their arts programs. Indiana University went in a different direction, building the Lilly Library, the Fine Arts Building, and the Jacobs School of Music; widely regarded as one of the world’s top music schools. The IU Auditorium was the first planned and constructed of this era. It was constructed out of locally quarried Indiana Limestone. The venue seats 3,200 people and has hosted acts from all over the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the touring troupe of Les Miserables, and Jerry Seinfeld.

📸: Joe Miller, Account Executive


9. Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

Indianapolis, Indiana

The Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Monument is one of the most iconic structures in Indianapolis. The neo-classical obelisk was built over a 13-year period between 1888 and 1902. It was constructed in honor of Hoosier veterans of the American Civil War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, and the Spanish-American War. During the dedication ceremony, a group of musicians played “The Messiah of the Nations,” a piece written for the occasion by the famed composer, John Phillip Sousa. The monument is located at the intersection of Meridian and Market Streets at the center of Downtown Indianapolis. During the holiday season, it is transformed into a giant Christmas tree known as the “Circle of Lights” (pictured), which at 284 ½ feet tall, makes it the tallest Christmas Tree in America each year. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

📸: Joe Miller, Account Executive


10. Gary Aquatorium

Gary, Indiana

The Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium was constructed in 1921. It sits at the southernmost point of Lake Michigan in the Miller Beach neighborhood of Gary. It was originally built to serve as a bathroom and changing area for beachgoers but was shut down to the public in 1971 due to a lack of upkeep and disrepair. The building was renovated and reopened as the “Chanute Aquatorium” in the late 1990s and houses a museum honoring the achievements of Octave Chanute, the grandfather of modern flight, and the Tuskegee Airmen. The Gary Aquatorium was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

📸: Michele Murday, Northern Indiana Regional Manager


Support Preservation

Other ways you can support National Preservation Month is frequent businesses in historic buildings, such as shopping at your local main street stores, eating at restaurants housed in historic buildings, sharing photos of your favorite historic places with the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters, and when traveling book rooms in historic hotels and visit historic sites.


LISTEN: Henshaw Talks about Thermal Remediation, Revitalization, and Reuse on NPR

EnviroForensics CEO, Steve Henshaw, PG, spoke with Chris Nolte, the host of Lakeshore Public Media’s talk show, Regionally Speaking, to discuss the success of thermal remediation technology used at the former Family Pride Dry Cleaner and Laundry in Crown Point. They also talked about the property’s future, now that it’s back on the market and ready for productive use.

Check out the interview to learn more.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Chris Nolte: Well first, for folks who may not remember our last conversation, tell us what EnviroForensics does and how important it is in particular to the project you guys just finished up in Crown Point.

Steve Henshaw: Sure. Thank you so much. EnviroForensics has been in business for over 20 years and we are a full-service environmental engineering firm. We investigate environmentally contaminated sites, and we design and implement the remediation. We get properties through the regulatory process – and get them back in productive hands to develop, reuse and get back on the tax roll.

What’s unique about EnviroForensics is we have the ability to go back and find old insurance policies that were really written for normal slip and falls; these normal slip and fall Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies can be used to pay for the expensive cost of environmental cleanup and investigation. And, that’s what really sets us apart from the competition; we can go and find the money to pay for these cleanups, which can routinely be a million and a half dollars at a normal dry cleaner.

Learn more about CGL policies

Nolte: Tell us about this project, which we see here used to be known as the Family Pride Laundry, located on North Main Street in Crown Point. Many people drive by it, even now every day as they’re traveling north and south into and out of downtown Crown Point. This business has been closed for a number of years and I guess it’s been up for sale for some time but it’s not had much luck in finding a new owner because all of its past baggage, so to speak. Tell us what you folks managed to clean up out of that facility to be able to reopen it up again and make it “redevelop-able”.

Henshaw: This was a site that was brought to us through the banks that the previous owner was working with. In many situations, when a business pays a loan to buy equipment and operate they commonly put up the property as a secured asset, and, in the business of environmentally contaminated piece of property, the bank may not realize what the business had as their secured asset. This is because when the business was no longer able to perform on the loan then the bank considered foreclosing on the property, but the bank doesn’t want to be the owner of a contaminated property.

Nolte: Well, yeah.

Henshaw: The bank brought us in and we were able to find a buyer for the note and then pursue the old insurance policy. It’s taken a little bit of time to work out those details, but once we got it all taken care of with the bank and the note was in new hands; we continued to pursue the insurance carrier. Then we investigated the dry cleaning site to determine the extent of the contamination and brought in a unique process of using thermal remediation, which heats up the soil and the groundwater, to fry off the volatile organics that are in the soil and groundwater. Old dry cleaners used chemical solvents, which are carcinogenic, to take creases out of fabrics and the solvents are heavier than water so they fall through the water columns. Really this is just a normal and routine part of the business, but these solvents can enter sewers or cracks in the floors through spills and unfortunately a little bit goes a long way. Many dry cleaners experience this environmental contamination, but in this situation, we brought in and employed a thermal remediation technology that worked with NIPSCO to bring in a high-voltage power line and heated the soil and the groundwater to near boiling. We implemented this in late May 2018 and shut the system down in early September 2018 and we had 99% removal of the contamination in just four months. So that’s what really makes this site unique. These are sites that can go on five, 10, 15 years and then the residual amounts of contamination that are still in groundwater and soil are still at levels that will require long-term monitoring of potentially 15 more years–just to monitor and make sure that the contaminants aren’t migrating off-site. But in this particular situation, we were able to get 99% of the contamination out of the soil and the groundwater in about 90 to 120 days.

Building with cleanup equipment inside fence
Thermal remediation technology reduced contamination by 99% in just four months.

Nolte: Now, Steve, I understand that in this particular site, what used to be the Family Pride Laundry, there on Main street in Crown Point had what they call perc, short for perchloroethylene, which is a solvent that was used commonly in dry cleaning. So, a person takes their clothes in to get the spots taken out; at this point Family Pride was still in business and they’d use the perc in their machines, so what a lot of this was, I’d imagine, were just maybe accidental spills of perc, but somehow or another that didn’t raise concerns, and it still got into the groundwater, didn’t it?

Henshaw: Yes, that’s correct. And the older machines didn’t have the same recycling capabilities, so often times, the perc was transferred to a distillation still to boil down the perc, so it comes overhead, it’s clean again and it gets reused. That’s just the process of recycling. Then you would also have these overfills and spills in the boiler system. You would have inadvertent doors popping open with this solvent. You would have just small releases, but over time, they accumulate into a large enough problem that the state and the regulatory agency gets concerned about the carcinogenic aspects in the soil and the groundwater.

Nolte: This place opened up as a dry cleaner and laundry in 1961, I think if my info’s right, and was open until 2012 when the business finally closed up there, which means that site has been unusable pretty much since then. That is until you folks from EnviroForensics managed to help get the process going and get the cleanup started and finished. How do people feel now that the cleanup is down to 99% clean? You can’t get much cleaner than that short of just pure soil.

Henshaw: Right. Well, we do have some interested parties that are knocking on the doors and would like to use the property. It’s been a bit of an eyesore for some time. So we’re excited about being able to put that back into productive use. That’s the name of the game here; try to get the cleanup done quickly and get the property back on the tax roll.

Nolte: Now for folks that may not be aware what you folks have done. I know this is not the first project you’ve worked on in Lake County or Northwest Indiana. You’ve worked on a number of them before. And some rather environmentally dirty areas, too, I understand.

Henshaw: Mhmm, yes. The dry cleaning industry has been something we’ve been closely involved with, but it’s not exclusive to that. EnviroForensics was involved with the East Chicago Waterway Canal project, the Gary Airport, the sanitary, the old Ralston Street Lagoon to receive wastewater from the sanitary POTW. So, we have been involved in rather large-scale projects, as well, but the interesting thing is these small dry cleaners cause just as much environmental impact as some of these larger manufacturing sites. It sort of goes against the grain of what you might think, but these small dry cleaners, these releases of perchloroethylene, can be upwards of a million and a half to two million dollar cleanups–so they’re really expensive–and, of course, the real problem here is that these small mom and pops just have no way of paying for those cleanups. If it wasn’t for our ability to go back and find old insurance policies that can pay for these expensive cleanups then those sites would end up being orphan sites, that the EPA might have to take over, which means it would be on the taxpayers to eventually clean up.

Image of Downtown Crown Point, Indiana.
Image of Downtown Crown Point, Indiana.

Nolte: That would be a tough place to do a Brownfield project with the EPA because that’s right smack in a residential and a commercial area of Crown Point. Can you fill us in on any other related projects that you and your folks at EnviroForensics are working on now?

Henshaw: Well, we’re now embarking on a number of projects in the area. There are some abandoned sites within Hammond and we’re working with the City of Hammond to restore a couple of those old, abandoned sites there. Probably can’t release their names at this point, but there’s still a number of manufacturing sites that EnviroForensics has been asked to come out and take a look at to see if we can use our unique approach of finding those old insurance policies. We have an insurance archeology division that goes all over the country looking for and finding old insurance policies. These policies, again, are not written for cleaning up contamination. They were written as normal slip and fall policies; normal CGL policies, but because they didn’t have exclusions for pollution, they are able to be used to address environmental contamination, asbestos exposure, and other claims that might come about. So that is something we are active in all across the country, and certainly in Northwest Indiana.

Nolte: Well, Steve. Thank you very much for bringing us up to date here on a pending closure with no doubt soon-to-be new owners of the site that used to be so contaminated it had to close up–until you folks with EnviroForensics were able to get in there, and get the cleanup not only done but also make it available for somebody to be able to take on as a new property someday. Thank you for being with us to talk about it.

Contact us today to restore value to contaminated properties.

The Brownfields Redevelopment Glossary

In the Brownfields redevelopment world, there’s number of keywords and acronyms used throughout the process–from the planning stage to ribbon-cutting stage. We’ve compiled an extensive glossary of commonly used words, so that you can know the industry lingo and can be a Brownfields redevelopment pro.

Use the links below to navigate throughout the page.

All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) – A process of evaluating the historic and current usage and environmental conditions of a property to assess potential liability.  This is usually completed during the purchase or sale of a property.

Abandonment – This happens when a property owner suddenly stops using the property, leaves it vacant, and doesn’t sell it or give it to anyone to resume use.

“As is” Sale – The transfer of a property to a buyer with no promises, assurances, or representations by the property owner about the conditions of the property.

Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) – A tank that commonly stores chemicals like petroleum and is subjected to strict spill prevention regulations due to the potential danger of its contents to affect human health and the environment.

Activity and Use Limitation (AUL) – This institutional control is intended to reduce the time a human comes into contact with a contamination by putting restrictions on how the contaminated property can be reused.

Brownfields Advisory Committee (BAC) – This is a group of stakeholders, including members of the municipality, the community, and the developers  who work to provide grant funding to Brownfields redevelopment sites in their area.

Bluefields – Real estate term to describe a property that is either itself a body of water, or is directly adjacent to a body of water.  

Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP) – A landowner that knowingly or has reason to know purchases a contaminated property and through the process of the environmental due diligence process (Phase I ESAs, etc.) can establish liability protection from being responsible for the contamination.  A very stringent set of steps are required to establish BFPP status and there are ongoing requirements to maintain this status even after environmental cleanup is complete.

Brownfield –  An industrial or commercial property that is either abandoned, unused, or underused due in part to the presence or perceived presence of environmental contamination.

Certificate of Completion –  This is written verification from a state regulatory agency stating the site has been remediated to satisfactory standards. In some states, this certificate provides the property owner with protection from being sued; however, in most states, a property owner will need to obtain a covenant not to sue to protect them from legal liability.

Cleanup Approval LetterSee Certificate of Completion

Clean Water Act (CWA) – This law was enacted in 1972 and regulates the amount of pollutants permitted to be discharged into US waterways.

Community Advisory Group (CAG) – A group of people who live in or close to a Superfund site and are involved in decisions regarding the cleanup. See Superfund Site

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – A type of grant that provides money and other resources to address a variety of community development needs, including upgrading building facades, creating public spaces, and addressing infrastructure needs. The CDBG is one of the longest running programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Comfort Letter – A letter issued by the state regulatory agency to a property owner who is affected by, but is not responsible for environmental contamination on their property. The letter establishes liability protection for the property owner. This letter does not typically provide protection from legal suits.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance Policy – This insurance policy provides coverage to businesses and can defend and indemnify policyholders against claims, such as environmental property damage claims, product liability claims, and claims against employees. See how Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance policies work.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) –  This Act provides federal funding to state or local agencies to clean up large contaminations in particular areas. It also empowers the EPA to seek out Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) and assure their cooperation in the cleanup. Notifications from the EPA under CERCLA can trigger an insurance carrier’s duty to defend.

Confidential Insurance Archeology® – This is a service provided by PolicyFind, a division of EnviroForensics, that restores financial viability to contaminated properties by conducting searches for historical insurance that may cover costs associated with contamination. See Historical Insurance

Contaminated Media Management Plan (CMMP) – This documentation, prepared by an environmental consultant, provides information needed to identify and properly manage impacted media at a particular site.

Contaminant of Emerging Concern (CEC) – This is a chemical that may cause harm to human health, but effects are not fully understood yet. The EPA typically takes the lead on the evaluation of these chemicals to establish cleanup levels if necessary.

Community Development Corporations (CDCs) – These are local non-profit groups that work to promote and advocate for urban redevelopment projects.

Eminent Domain Condemnation – This is a legal process that allows the government to acquire the title of a property in order to do something with it for the public good. Condemnation can lead to demolition, environmental cleanup, or a number of other solutions that move the property closer to reuse.

Contractor Certification – This process ensures that contractors meet a certain set of standards and are approved to perform specific tasks.

Contractor-Certified Cleanup – When a state allows private contractors to make cleanup decisions on behalf of the state. Only a small number of states have this cleanup process in place as of June 2018.  

Contribution Action –  When the person or persons identified to be responsible for a contamination take legal action against other liable parties to pay for their share of an environmental cleanup.

Corrective Action – This is the process used to clean up contamination at hazardous chemical treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. This is regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Covenant Not to Sue – This is a written promise by a state government that it will not sue or require further cleanup efforts from a party that has satisfactorily cleaned up their property under a state Brownfields or voluntary cleanup program.

Deed Restriction – This puts limitations on how a property can be used. It appears on the deed to the property.  

Due Diligence – This is a thorough evaluation of the environmental conditions of a property. Banks require this during a real estate transaction to ensure they are protected from taking on the liability of a potential existing environmental issue.

Easement – This is the right to use or limit the use of someone else’s property.

Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) – This act requires companies that handle hazardous chemicals to have contingency plans for emergencies, and increases public access to information about chemicals at individual facilities

Engineering Controls – These are physical barriers that are put in place to prevent people from coming in contact with a contamination. Examples: Fences, pavement, clay caps on contaminated soil.

Enforcement of Compliance History Online (ECHO) – This is a directory managed by the EPA that provides compliance monitoring, enforcement, and demographic data on thousands of actively regulated sites across the country.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Federal agency responsible for the protection of  human health and the environment.

Environmental Assessment – A site investigation conducted to determine the extent, if any, of contamination on a property. They consist of two stages, including Phase I and Phase II.

Environmental Insurance –  This is a type of insurance that a person can buy to protect themselves from the financial costs that can come from a lawsuit related to an environmental issue on their property.

Environmental Liability – A probable, measurable, and reasonably estimable future expenditure of resources for environmental investigation and cleanup costs resulting from past transactions or events.

Environmental Remediation – This step in the environmental clean-up process removes pollution or contaminants from soil, groundwater, sediment, and/or surface water.

Exaction –  When a local government asks a developer for payment or some sort of concession on a project that serves the public good, like the construction of a sidewalk on land that will be developed.

Foreclosure – This happens when a mortgage lender takes possession of a property because the borrower can’t keep up with their payments.

Feasibility Study (FS) – This is a summary of a site’s contamination, remediation recommendations, and potential reuse.

Greenfield – A property that has no previous development, and therefore does not have an institutional restrictions placed on it.

Heating Oil Tank (HOT) – This is either an aboveground storage tank (AST) or an underground storage tank (UST) that stores oil that powers the furnace of a home.

Hazardous Substance Data Bank (HSDB) – This is a database of chemicals that can cause harm to human health.

Hard Costs –  In a construction project, these are the costs associated with the physical construction of the building and any equipment that is fixed.

Historical Insurance – This is a former policy or evidence of a former policy. See Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance Policy

Hot Spots – Specific areas at a project site where the level of contamination is very high.

Indemnification – What a commercial general liability policy does for its policyholder. It’s an agreement between the insurance carrier and the policyholder that the carrier will bear the costs for damages or losses incurred by the policyholder.

Independent Cleanup Program (ICP) – A state regulated program where the consultant provides oversight and certification of the cleanup of environmental contamination to expedite the process. This type of program is not available in all states.

Integrated Data for Enforcement Analysis (IDEA) – The environmental performance data for EPA-regulated sites.

Infill Development – The process of developing a vacant parcel in an urban setting surrounded by development.

Infrastructure – The streets, sidewalks, electrical and water utilities, and other public amenities that allow a society to function

Institutional Controls – The legal restriction put in place to reduce human interaction with an existing chemical contamination by limiting the use of a property. Examples include: Deed Restrictions, Easements, Warning Signs and Notices, and Zoning Restrictions.

Insurance Archeologist – An expert at identifying and locating lost liability insurance policies and assets that can be used to defend or indemnify policyholders against claims.

Insurance Archeology – The practice of retracing historical insurance coverage to identify past owners and operators of companies. See Historical Insurance

Insurer – The person or entity that enters into an agreement with a policyholder to protect the policyholder from potential expenses associated with injury.

Land Disposal Restrictions (LDR) – An EPA program that sets guidelines treating hazardous waste order for it to be safe enough to discard in a landfill.

Landowner Liability Protection (LLP) – Legal protections for people who own Brownfields properties.

Liability Relief or Liability Release – This is an official document that prohibits a lawsuit against a company responsible for environmental contamination. This order can be used as an incentive to compel the responsible party to clean up the contamination. Examples include: Covenant Not to Sue, No Further Action (NFA) Letter

Long-term Stewardship – This is a long-term view for environmental remediation on sites, which brings financial and environmental stewardship into the remediation planning stages.

Maximum Allowable Soil Concentration – Standard for the highest concentration of heavy metals in soil that’s still safe for human exposure.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – The maximum amount of a contaminant allowed in public drinking water as set by the EPA and regulated by the Clean Drinking Water Act.

Monitoring Well (MW) –  This is a hole in the ground from which environmental professionals can collect groundwater samples.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) – This is a program under the Clean Drinking Water Act that regulates chemical discharges from the source area.

National Priorities List (NPL) – This is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of the most serious hazardous chemical releases. It’s a guide for the agency to determine which sites need further investigation and more resources dedicated to address the contamination.

Natural Resource Damages – This is contamination that causes harm to any natural resource including land, fish, wildlife, air, water, groundwater, drinking water supplies, and other resources.

No-Further-Action (NFA) Letter – This is a letter from a state regulatory agency  that says it will not pursue any further legal action against a party because that party has satisfactorily cleaned up their property.

No Further Remedial Action Planned (NFRAP) – This is a declaration from the EPA that no further remediation efforts are needed at a site under CERCLA.

Notice of Violation (NOV) – This is a notice that informs the recipient that the EPA believes they have committe one or more violations, and directs them work towards compliance.

Nonresidential Use Standard – This is the amount of a chemical that is considered safe for human exposure at a nonresidential property. Nonresidential standards tend to be more relaxed because people are only inhabiting these buildings for a small portion of the day during business hours.

Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) – A law that works to prevent oil spills by enforcing the removal of the oil from the contamination site and assigning liability to the responsible party.

Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI) – This is the office at the EPA that manages the Superfund program.

Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) – This office provides policy, guidance and direction for the EPA’s emergency response and waste programs.

Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) – Office at the EPA that manages the guidance and direction for oversight of Underground Storage Tanks.

Preliminary Assessment (PA) – A very elementary review of a known or suspected contamination site.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) – A site investigation conducted by an Environmental Professional to learn the current and past history of a property, and determine the possibility of a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC).

Phase II ESA – If it is determined that a REC may be present on a property, a Phase II Environmental Assessment is recommended. This involves soil and groundwater sampling at the property to confirm the presence of contamination.

Policyholder – Person or entity that enters into an agreement with the insurer that says the insurer will protect the policyholder from expenses associated with injury.

Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) – People, companies, or any other organizations that may be responsible for a chemical release at a Superfund site, and may be liable to pay for cleanup costs.

Preliminary Assessment (PA) – This is a very elementary review of a known or suspected contamination site.

Preliminary Remediation Goal (PRG) – Goal to bring concentration of a chemical down to the point that any residual impacts will be within an established standard of acceptability.

Tetrachloroethylene (PERC or PCE) – This is a manufactured chemical commonly used in dry cleaning and in degreasing mechanical equipment.

Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) – A toxic chemical that was once used to insulate electrical transformers, capacitors, and other utility lines. The use of PCB was banned in 1979.

Potential Responsible Party (PRP) – These are the individuals, companies, and organizations that may be responsible for a chemical contamination, and may be compelled to pay for cleanup efforts.

Pro Forma – In a real estate project, this is a carefully calculated estimate of the financial return that proposed real estate project is likely to generate.

Prospective Purchaser Agreement (PPA) – This is an agreement between the government and a prospective buyer of a Superfund site that protects the prospective buyer from certain liabilities for contamination that is already on the site. This agreement normally comes with a promise from prospective buyer to provide something of substantial public benefit.

Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) – This is an outline written up during the due diligence and environmental cleanup process  that states the project objectives and monitoring parameters.

Remedial Action (RA) – This phrase encompasses all efforts to clean up a site including the construction of systems and/or in situ exercises.

Remedial Action Operation (RAO) – Any operation, maintenance, or monitoring in support of the Remediation Action.

Risk Based Corrective Action (RBCA) –   The strategy of cleaning up based on the risk to human health and pushing towards closure using appropriate levels of action and oversight.

Reopener Provisions – These agreements allow the government the right to require further cleanup if a previously unknown contamination is discovered or the remaining contamination is more toxic than originally believed.

Representations and Warranties – Representations are the basic underlying facts in contract law. The Warranties are the promises that a seller makes to a buyer assuring the factuality of the representations about the good being sold.

Request-for-Proposals (RFPs) – This is a document that is put out by a state agency asking developers for their qualifications and credentials and as well as project-specific plans.

Residential Use Standard – This is the amount of a chemical that is considered safe for human exposure in a residential building. Residential standards are the strictest use standards, and if a property passes these standards it can typically be reused for any purpose.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) – This Act regulates the generation, transportation, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste.

Restrictive Covenant – A specific type of deed restriction that prohibits the use certain parts of a property to reduce human exposure to existing contamination.

Risk Assessment – An evaluation of a property that identifies the potential harm an existing contamination will have on human health.

Running With the Land – The rights and obligations attached to the land that remain the same regardless of ownership.

Site Investigation – The practice of sampling soil, groundwater,  to determine the presence and extent of a chemical contamination.

Site Status Letter – A letter issued by the state regulatory agency to a party responsible for an environmental cleanup that the levels of contamination substantially meet screening levels and that the agency does not anticipate enforcement action against the responsible party.

Soft Costs – In a construction project, these are the costs associated with project planning, including architectural, engineering, administrative, legal, and design activities.

Superfund – Formally known as CERCLA, this fund was established by the US EPA to pay for large, long-term cleanup projects. The parties responsible for the contamination are ultimately required to either cleanup the contamination or reimburse the government for EPA-led cleanup work.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – This allows local governments to use future projected tax revenue to finance current infrastructure projects.

Tax Credits – This is an incentive for a large corporation to develop in a local municipality in exchange for a break on their property taxes.

Toxic Tort Action – A lawsuit brought against a company that seeks damages for an exposure to a hazardous substance.

Uncertainty Premium – The amount a buyer subtracts from the purchase price to reflect the risk of unexpected environmental assessment and cleanup costs.

Use Permit – A type of variance that authorizes an otherwise unacceptable use on a property without changing its zoning.

Variance – This is a mechanism that allows a property owner to use their property for something other than what the zoning ordinance permits.

Voluntary Cleanups – Cleanups of identified contamination that are not court or agency ordered. Most states have voluntary programs that encourage voluntary cleanups and that may provide benefits if volunteers meet specified standards.

It’s estimated that there are over 450,000 Brownfields across the United States, and while Brownfields redevelopment can be a lengthy and complex process, with the right team you can speed up the process and stay on track by turning environmental liabilities into assets®.

Contact us today.

A Roadmap for Brownfields Redevelopment Success


A successful Brownfields redevelopment project doesn’t just happen by chance – well-designed and strategic projects often take months if not years of planning and design. A Brownfields project also needs the right project team in place – secure the developer’s creativity, the municipality’s leverage, the community’s collaboration, and the property owner’s consent and you’re well on your way toward a flourishing Brownfields redevelopment project. Finally, beware of environmental liabilities that can often become roadblocks or even throw projects off-track entirely.

This article walks you through the Brownfields redevelopment planning process to help you find your own roadmap for success, and will prepare you for what to expect if environmental issues are discovered during the planning process.

Let’s start with understanding the Brownfields project’s key players.  

Often called the “stakeholders” of the project, these are the individuals, companies, municipalities, and communities who rally together for the common cause of the project. Each stakeholder plays a different role and adds a unique perspective to the process.

Here’s a list of the key players, their roles, and how and when they fit into the redevelopment planning:

Property Owner

A property owner encompasses the term for the actual owner or the potential owner of the property being considered for redevelopment. The owner can be a public, private, municipal, not-for-profit, or (sometimes) an unknown entity. The property owner’s involvement from the first days of planning will help ensure a smooth redevelopment process.


Local Government Agencies

The local, regional, and state governing bodies have a vested interest in the redevelopment of a Brownfields property – bringing an underutilized property into use or back into reuse can provide them with a renewed tax base and a revitalized community. They can assist with securing local funding sources, loans, and tax credits to enhance the potential for the redevelopment project.  


Economic Redevelopment Groups

Local and regional economic groups may be involved with Brownfields redevelopment projects from the first planning meeting. They can provide valuable guidance, grant funding assistance, and experience to help the project meet its goals. This group ultimately finds benefit from the creation or growth of jobs and other economic factors after a redevelopment project is completed.


Community and Neighborhood Groups

Community-based organizations play an important role in the redevelopment process of a Brownfields property. They serve as the voice of the community poised to gain from the project, and ultimately want to see the neighborhoods where they live and work thrive.


Lenders and Financial Groups

Depending on the redevelopment plan, financing might need to be secured through private lenders or investment groups. These key players also want to see a successful project through to completion for community and financial reasons.



The developer often serves as the glue that can help generate and implement the vision for the project’s redevelopment plans. Developers work with the other project stakeholders from the project planning stages to ensure the final concept comes to fruition.


Environmental Consultants

An environmental consultant wears many hats during the Brownfields redevelopment process:

  • Assisting the owner with their liability protection needs, also known as due diligence
  • Identifying sources of financing
  • Working with stakeholders to establish and implement an environmental clean up plan that serves the needs of future redevelopment
  • Assisting with the owner’s continuing obligations once the project is complete

Bringing in an experienced environmental consultant at the beginning of your project can help prepare cities and communities and be a recipe for success.

Tip: Strong coordination between the key players is an important step in the success of a Brownfields redevelopment project.

Now that we have our key players defined, let’s get ready to hit the road toward a successful project!

There is not one recipe or redevelopment plan that will suit everyone’s or every project’s needs. There are however, a few fundamental steps in the Brownfields planning process that when paired with the right stakeholders and the right economic environment, projects can lead to productive outcomes for cities and communities.

Step 1: Vision to Develop Brownfields Site
The redevelopment planning process begins with a spark: a stakeholder sees the potential to turn a Brownfields project into a thriving property. This vision leads to a discussion and the engagement of various stakeholders, and before you know it, the process is ready to start. It is important at this beginning stage to establish the project framework: what are the property reuse goals, what are the zoning restrictions, can they be changed, and how will the project be received by the community? The answers to these framework questions will help guide the next steps of the process.

Step 2: The Review – Doing Your Due Diligence
The next step typically involves performing due diligence through Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) on the property to provide the stakeholders with valuable information regarding the current and historical environmental conditions and ownership status of the site. The ESA and additional investigations will help identify the presence and magnitude of environmental concerns, and if certain criteria are met, the ESA can ultimately be used to protect the owner and other stakeholders from liability associated with these environmental concerns.

Step 3: Financing – Funding Your Redevelopment Vision
The final and perhaps most important step in the planning process is locating and securing funding for the project. Typically, the planning and construction costs for a redevelopment project are anticipated and be secured from privately-funded or lender sources, but the costs for the cleanup of environmental contamination cannot be taken into account until after due diligence is completed.

Once the cleanup costs are established, a common way to partially pay for these environmental services needed to bring a Brownfields site back to life is through local, state, and federal grant and loan funding; however, even if a project is awarded a grant or loan, those funds come with restrictions and can run out before any meaningful progress is made towards revitalization of the property.

What’s typically missing from a Brownfields Funding Plan is an insurance archeology strategy. PolicyFind, a division of EnviroForensics, locates historical Commercial General Liability insurance policies as a funding source to ensure that the resources needed to complete the investigation and cleanup of a redevelopment project are sufficient and accessible.

Here’s what historical Commercial General Liability policies can be used to fund:

Insurance archeology can recover historical insurance coverage, which can pay for environmental investigation and remediation efforts, and legal counsel costs. Read more about how insurance archeology and CGL policies work.

Tip: Visit EnviroForensics’ insurance archeology services and fill out the form for more information.

Once the key components are assembled and the process has been reviewed by all stakeholders, it’s time to get underway.

Tip: It’s important that all environmental cleanup and construction activities are carefully planned as described above, and that all stakeholders are in agreement with the plan in the beginning and throughout the entire redevelopment process.

This process is very time-sensitive and delays may cause overall increases in redevelopment costs.

Step 1: The Environmental Cleanup
Typically during this phase of the project, the Brownfields property is prepared for redevelopment by implementing the selected environmental cleanup activity. Whether through traditional methods such as:

Soil Excavation

Soil excavator removing contaminated soil from environmental cleanup site.
Soil excavator removing contaminated soil from environmental cleanup site.


Engineered methods such as active soil and groundwater remediation systems

Conduit tubes buried underground for a Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) System
Conduit tubes buried underground for a Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) System

In-situ methods such as injection of microbes into the ground

Geoprobe drill used to inject remedial chemicals into ground for in-situ remediation.
Geoprobe drill used to inject remedial chemicals into ground for in-situ remediation.

Institutional controls such as property use restrictions

no trespassing sign
Institutional controls like land use restrictions enforced by the sign above can help reduce human interaction with a potential environmental hazard.


Innovative remediation design methods

Such as zero-valent iron the environmental contamination is removed or destroyed, or access to the contamination is limited to protect the future occupants of the property from exposure to it.

field professional overseeing mixing of remedial chemical
An EnviroForensics Field Engineer oversees the mixing of a remedial chemical, PlumeStop® by Regenesis

This is where EnviroForensics’ team of expert environmental scientists, geologists and engineers gets to work. Our experienced project managers and scientists then work hand-in-hand with the project stakeholders to make sure the remediation efforts are completed to the satisfaction of the stakeholders and that the property is ready for redevelopment.

Step 2: The Construction – Bringing Your Vision to Life
Construction activities can often be implemented at the same time as or shortly after the environmental cleanup work is performed. This is often the most exciting part of the process because it provides visible signs that the property is being developed through the construction or remodeling of onsite buildings.

Tip: Remember to keep all stakeholders engaged through the construction process – it can often be a dynamic and thrilling time for the project!

There may be ongoing responsibilities for the owner or tenants of the completed project, including vapor intrusion monitoring, remediation system operation, or other long-term stewardship efforts. These are often coordinated between the owner, the environmental consultant, and the regulatory agency to ensure that the occupants or users of the property will continue to be protected from exposed to any residual environmental contamination.

To learn about how a more aggressive cleanup can save you money in the long run, visit A Business Case Approach to Site Cleanup.

The road to a successful Brownfields redevelopment is a dynamic and exciting one – it’s essential that the key stakeholders are engaged and that the project goals are established during the early stages of planning to stay on course. Good planning by a well-experienced team can lead to a very rewarding project! This roadmap for Brownfields Redevelopment Success can be your guide.

For over 20 years, EnviroForensics has been turning environmental liabilities into assets®. We have the environmental expertise and knowledge of historical site coverage to partner strategically with businesses, Brownfields coordinators and developers. We help community leaders convert blighted properties into valuable community assets for redevelopment and provide better reuse planning options through long-term stewardship after the site is closed and developed. See how we applied our business model to the redevelopment of our own headquarters by reading How EnviroForensics Transformed a Brownfields Site into Their HQ.

Contact our Brownfields Redevelopment team today to see how we can revitalize your property and city.

The Missing Key to Financing Brownfields Development

Right now, in cities and towns across this nation, abandoned and underutilized properties stand as a reminder of a different time – what are now empty husks of buildings, tall red brick or cement facades, and abandoned industrial corridors were once prosperous properties that provided jobs and economic benefit to their communities.

The expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of these former industrial or commercial sites may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination are known as “Brownfields”. At EnviroForensics, we see the opportunity these sites hold, and we have a unique set of keys to unlock the assets needed to realize the full potential of Brownfields properties. For decades, we’ve been Turning Environmental Liabilities Into Assets®, and overcoming the hurdles surrounding Brownfields development. In 2016, we even developed an abandoned Brownfields site into our new, cutting edge headquarters. Read how we transformed the former Brownfields site into a place focused on conservation, reuse, and being a part of the community.

brownfields site before renovation
Brownfields site example: The property pictured above at 825 North Capitol Avenue in Indianapolis is a Brownfields site. The 23,000 sq. ft. structure had environmental contamination left behind by an auto repair shop. The contamination complicated redevelopment and reuse.

The Challenges of Developing Brownfields

When looking for a property to develop, municipalities and developers have to make a choice:  “Do I search out a pristine ‘greenfield’ property (where little to no real or perceived environmental concerns exist) in the suburbs?”, or “Do I roll the dice and purchase an existing piece of property that may have some environmental concerns due to historic operations?”.

The development or redevelopment of an existing property can be complicated, but as cities are revitalizing their urban cores, and companies are looking for urban space near their future workforce, they are facing their concerns with more focus and interest to solve the potential development challenges. The most common way to bankroll the environmental services needed to bring a Brownfields site back to life is through local, state, and federal grant and loan funding; however, city officials and development corporations often cite the lack of available grant or loan money as their biggest challenge. Even if a project is awarded a grant or loan, those funds come with restrictions and can run out before any meaningful progress is made towards revitalization of the property.

There are several specific challenges that make Brownfields cleanup and development unique when compared to other real estate projects:

1. Environmental Liability Concerns
Brownfields and other contaminated properties carry with them very real concerns and questions about liability:

  • Who is responsible for paying for the investigation and cleanup if there is a possibility of historical operations that may have contaminated a property?
  • How can a purchaser protect their current and future liability through becoming a Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP)? How long does this liability protection last?
  • Can a purchaser ensure that their family or business successors will not be burdened with this liability in the future?

2. Financial Barriers: How Much is This Going to Cost?
The hurdle many investors, developers, and municipalities fear from the start of a project is that their funding sources could run short, and they could be left responsible for additional costs or liability. This is often the reason Brownfields properties can sit vacant for decades, adding blight and risk to communities.

Although there are opportunities for grants, tax incentives, and loan packages, they are highly competitive, and are not always the best option to fund a project from start to finish; even if grant money can be applied toward a project, there are often gaps in payment due to the limitations and restrictions of the funding source. For more information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grants and alternative funding sources, read EPA Announces Millions in Grant Funds–But Who Was Left Out? A supplemental funding source is needed to make sure projects are seen through to completion.

3. Planning for Redevelopment
Often, property owners, municipalities, and developers have plans and visions already conceptualized for the development of a Brownfields property before even starting down the environmental road of performing Phase I, Phase II, and other site investigations as a part of the due diligence process. Unfortunately, this process can uncover environmental concerns that can dramatically change the planned course of a project, and in some cases grant funding sources will only provide enough funding for a minimal amount of cleanup.  

For example, let’s say a developer or municipality wants to redevelop a Brownfields property as a multi-tenant mixed-use (commercial and residential) building. They learn that their grant or loan source is limited, which ultimately limits their options for development to commercial or non-occupied land use. This could relegate the property’s potential to nothing more than a parking lot due to outstanding environmental concerns. Where can they find additional funding sources to cleanup the property and bring their original vision to life?

The Missing Key

The bottom line is that there is a limit to the most commonly used avenues of grant and loan funding in the Brownfields world. Additional forms of funding can maximize your development options, can minimize your future liability, and can provide you with the flexibility to apply funding to suit your project’s needs.

This is where PolicyFind™ comes in. PolicyFind, a subsidiary of EnviroForensics, uncovers evidence of historical insurance coverage that can be used to cover both environmental investigation and cleanup costs. To learn more about the insurance archeology process, read How Does It Work: Insurance Archeology and CGL Policies.

In many cases, adding our insurance archeology strategy to your traditional portfolio of funding options can provide you with confidence that the resources needed to complete your development project are sufficient and accessible. Let us help you realize your development visions by helping you add these untapped funding sources to your Brownfields strategy.

Ensure Better Reuse Opportunities with Thorough Environmental Cleanup

A better cleanup means more options for your development project by conducting reasonable and necessary cleanup efforts to remove the risks of exposure to contamination. The use of insurance assets can put your Brownfields project on the fast-track to remediation all without solely relying on traditional grant funding options. This is how EnviroForensics and PolicyFind can help you find the missing key to financing your Brownfields Development.

Brownfields Are An Opportunity For A Promising Future

Despite the perceived challenges, Brownfields don’t have to be a reminder of days gone by, but instead can be seen as the sign of a promising future. Brownfields properties are untapped resources waiting to be revitalized and returned to a meaningful use, all with the added benefit of providing an improved tax base for cities.

fully developed brownfields site
Brownfields development example: At EnviroForensics, we saw the value of investing in the North Meridian neighborhood. We located and used historical insurance policies to investigate and remediate a vacant building and once cleanup activities were completed, we brought our vision for a new HQ to life. EnviroForensics’ Headquarters sits at 825 North Capitol Avenue, a former Brownfields site in Indianapolis, where more than 75 team members come to work every day.

A redeveloped property that works to bring new life to an area is more likely to bring new business opportunities, jobs, and tax revenue back to your city.

Learn more about Brownfields development and contact us today!