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Working Paper: Characterization of Reuse Activities at Contaminated Sites

Paper Number: 2004-03

Document Date: 04/02/2004

Author(s): Angela Vitulli, Charlotte Dougherty, and Kimberly Bosworth

Subject Area(s): Hazardous Waste; Land Use; Environmental Policy

Keywords: contaminated sites; site reuse; Superfund; brownfields; RCRA; underground storage tanks

Abstract: Given the increased focus on reuse activity within EPA and state site cleanup programs, policy makers would benefit from looking across programs to better understand the extent and nature of reuse; examine site characteristics that influence reuse; leverage lessons learned; and coordinate reuse activities, data collection, and information management. This research paper begins to examine these issues. It reports the results of a preliminary review and analysis of available EPA and state program data on the extent and nature of reuse and factors influencing site reuse. Numerous factors can influence the reuse potential of contaminated sites. Characteristics include on-site factors (e.g., site size and configuration, prior use, type and extent of contamination), as well as off-site factors such as local real estate market conditions. We provide a preliminary analysis of the roles of site contamination type and prior use in influencing reuse potential. To put this analysis in broader context, we also review the literature on the role of off-site factors, and specifically local real estate market conditions, in affecting the reuse potential of contaminated sites. An important finding of this analysis is that EPA and state programs currently do not collect data needed to fully characterize the nature and extent of contaminated site reuse within and across programs, or to determine the relative influence of various factors that influence the potential for reuse after cleanup.

This paper is part of the Environmental Economics Working Paper Series.

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