Brownfields program

A brownfield is a formerly abandoned property whose redevelopment may be complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination. Our Brownfields program helps local governments put those properties back into use so they can bring their redevelopment visions to life.

What does the Brownfields program do?

Our staff work with local governments across the state to provide information, funding resources, technical assistance, and outreach. We help them navigate the full range of environmental activities that may be involved with a brownfield — from environmental assessments and cleanup, to redevelopment.

What are brownfields?

Brownfields are properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination. They can vary in size and complexity. They can be as small as an abandoned gas station on a corner lot, or hundreds of acres like the Northern State Multi-Site Center in Sedro-Woolley. Brownfields can pose risks to a community's public health and block economic redevelopment.

Who can ask for funding assistance?

Any local government that owns a brownfield property, or can demonstrate interest in acquiring the property (or parts of it), can apply for brownfields financial assistance through our grants and loans. Local governments include cities, towns, counties, ports, and brownfield redevelopment authorities.

Who provides the funding and technical assistance?

We partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Commerce to provide technical assistance, grants, and a revolving loan program:
  • Ecology: We manage cleanups under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), which includes providing technical assistance for projects funded by our partners. We also administer cleanup grants and help local governments scope and evolve their brownfields projects.
  • Environmental Protection Agency: The EPA provides federal funding grants for assessment, planning, and cleanup. They also offer grants for Revolving Loans, Environmental Workforce Development Job Training (EWDJT), and the State and Tribal Response Program (STRP). Visit EPA's brownfields website to learn more.
  • Department of Commerce: The Commerce team manages Washington's Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program. They also provide assistance to people interested in redeveloping properties.

Why should we develop brownfields?

When local governments clean up and redevelop brownfields properties, they can:
  • Stimulate a community's economy with more jobs and larger local tax base.
  • Provide healthy sites for community priorities such as affordable housing, like Mount Baker Properties in Seattle.
  • Turn their community's perceived problem into an asset and improve their image.
  • Restore properties to active use and save green space from being developed.
  • Enable efficient land use and minimize the construction of new service infrastructure.
  • Facilitate the resolution of environmental justice issues.
  • Protect human health and environmental health.
  • Mitigate public health and safety concerns.
  • Provide opportunities for habitat restoration or parks.