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BrownfieldsFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Brownfields FAQ

The Questions

  1. What is a brownfield?

    A brownfield is defined under NJ state law (N.J.S.A. 58:10B-23.d) as "any former or current commercial or industrial site that is currently vacant or underutilized and on which there has been, or there is suspected to have been, a discharge of a contaminant." While this is the definition recognized in state legislation, there are many variations on this definition. Generally, brownfields are properties that are abandoned or underutilized because of either real or perceived contamination.

  2. How many contaminated sites are there in NJ? Are they all brownfields?

    NJDEP has organized the “Known Contaminated Sites” in New Jersey into three categories: active sites with known contamination, pending sites with known contamination, and closed sites with remediated contamination. Not all of these sites are brownfield sites. However, a search can be performed of the New Jersey Known Contaminated Sites if you are interested in a specific area or location within a municipality. For more information about known contaminated sites, consult the list.

  3. Where can I find a suitable brownfield site for my business?

    There are a number of approaches to finding a suitable brownfield for reuse as a business. Under NJDEP's Brownfield Development Area (BDA) program, designated communities have identified clusters of brownfield sites for coordinated remediation and reuse according to a community-based plan. A listing of the BDA sites can be found at

    NJ Department of State has developed a "Site Mart," which is a searchable on-line multiple-listing service. Users need to register at the website to view the listed properties. The registration is free and available to anyone. For more information, please contact the Office of Planning Advocacy at 609-777-3474.

    NJDEP has compiled a list of contaminated sites. However, this list does not distinguish between sites that are available for development and those that are simply in the remediation process.

    Often the best source of information regarding redevelopment of a specific site is found locally. If you have a specific municipality or county in mind, speak with the local economic development directors who generally know where the sites are in their communities. Also, many counties have developed inventories of brownfield sites.

  4. Where can I find New Jersey’s brownfield law?

    The Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act (BCSRA) was passed in 1998 and Section 35 was amended in October, 2002. The BSCRA was further amended in conjunction with the Site Remediation and Reform Act. Additional information regarding the SRRA and amendments to the BSCRA, can be found on the Site Remediation Program's website.

  5. Where can I find funding for brownfield remediation and redevelopment?

    The NJDEP works in partnership with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to administer the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF). The HDSRF provides funding to municipalities, counties, and redevelopment enitities for the remediation of brownfield sites. There are a number of grants and loans for assessment, investigation and cleanup of brownfield properties.

    There are additional sources of funding that can be found through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields program including grants and loans for assessments, cleanup, and planning. Additional information can be found at

  6. How can the redevelopment of a brownfield help a community?

    Since brownfield sites are often abandoned and poorly maintained properties, they can create an unattractive nuisance. Vandalism, trespassing and environmental contamination are common at brownfield properties. In addition to improving the appearance of the property to the community, the redevelopment of a brownfield property can increase value of the surrounding properties, create new jobs, and positively impact the local economy.

  7. Where can I access information about a specific brownfield site?

    All of the sites under NJDEP oversight, including brownfields, can be accessed through the Known Contaminated Site List or the NJDEP's Geo-Web GIS mapping system. To obtain reports on a particular site, please submit an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request.

  8. Does a municipality have to remediate or clean up contamination at a brownfields site?

    The Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) established an affirmative obligation for responsible parties to remediate contaminated sites in a timely manner. A government entity that is a responsible party must adhere to these deadlines. However, a government entity that owns contaminated property for which it is not a responsible party is not required, but is strongly encouraged to adhere to these deadlines. More information can be found at