Skip to main content

WPD | Brownfields

Waste Programs Division

What are Brownfields?

Revised On: Dec. 7, 2023 - 8:00 a.m.

What is a brownfield? | View/Download Infographic >

Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties where reuse is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination. The spaces may include sites contaminated by hazardous substances, petroleum or mine-scarred land.

We award grants to help clean up these blighted properties so they can be returned to active use. To be considered for brownfields grant funds, a property must:

  • be an underused commercial or industrial site
  • have redevelopment potential
  • have redevelopment potential that is complicated by known or perceived contamination from a hazardous substance as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) 


​Check out all the ways brownfields grants have helped Arizonans revitalize communities since 2005 | View StoryMap > 

Common examples of brownfields are:

  • schools
  • fire departments
  • hospitals
  • dry cleaners
  • older or historic commercial buildings
  • hotels and motels

Why are they important to clean up?

Brownfields are often abandoned properties, with owners no longer maintaining the space or paying taxes. These properties with unresolved environmental issues can quickly become local blights and may attract vandalism and illegal dumping. They degrade the environment, depress communities and potentially put public health at risk.

Redeveloping Properties Revitalizes Communities

Revitalizing brownfields involves transforming the properties into something new, from neighborhood parks to commercial or retail spaces. Redevelopment has the potential to reduce environmental hazards, create new business opportunities, increase tax revenue and restore blighted areas to productive use.

Redevelopment may prove less expensive than construction on previously undeveloped land because they typically have favorable locations (near potential markets and labor) and infrastructure already in place.

How to Use ADEQ's Brownfields Assistance Program

Local governments, non-profits, Tribal Nations and hospital, school, police and fire districts may apply for funding through ADEQ’s Brownfields Assistance Program. Each fiscal year (July 1 through June 30), EPA provides funding through a state response grant for Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint Surveys and Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint Abatements.

To learn more or apply for the program, call 602-771-2296.

Brownfields State Response Grant Application | View/Download >