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Brownfields: Redeveloping Contaminated Property

Brownfields are abandoned, idle and underused commercial or industrial properties where reuse is hindered by real or perceived contamination. Brownfields vary in size, location, age and past use; they can be anything from a 500-acre former automobile assembly plant to a small, abandoned gas station.

Interest in cleaning up and returning brownfields to productive use has transformed this environmental issue into a major public policy initiative that also involves redevelopment and community revitalization. In Wisconsin, there are an estimated 10,000 brownfields; 1,500 of these are believed to be tax delinquent.

These properties present public health threats, along with economic, environmental and social challenges to the rural and urban communities where they are located.

Wisconsin DNR and brownfields

The DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment program has a wide range of financial and liability tools available to help local governments, businesses, lenders and others clean up and redevelop brownfields in Wisconsin. Staff in the DNR's Madison office and regional offices around the state are available to meet with community leaders, bankers, developers and private individuals to discuss brownfield projects.

For more information on the basics of brownfields redevelopment, see: Brownfields Redevelopment in Wisconsin: Essential steps and resources for successful redevelopment of brownfields (RR-933) [PDF].

Federal brownfields information and policy

For information on federal brownfields programs and policies, visit the EPA Brownfields page [exit DNR].