Joan Hartley

State Senator

Joan Hartley

Chief Deputy President Pro Tempore

An Independent Voice

April 13, 2022

Sen. Hartley Leads Passage of Bill Improving Programs Supporting the Clean Up of Contaminated Properties

State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury, Naugatuck, and Middlebury) led Senate approval of Senate Bill 218 which would strengthen two of Connecticut’s brownfield remediation programs by expanding the applicant eligibility to include short-term leases, make the vetting process more efficient, and tightening deadlines to acquire properties for remediation. The legislation received support from both the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). It now awaits to be taken up by the state House of Representatives.

“Connecticut has been a model for other states on programs supporting the clean up of contaminated properties and putting them back into use for economic development,” said Sen. Hartley. “I am encouraged by the bipartisan support this bill has received to expand the ability to participate in Connecticut’s brownfield remediation programs and put more guidelines in place to ensure the vetting process is timely and orderly.”

Senate Bill 218, “An Act Concerning Brownfield Remediation,” would make the following changes to the Abandoned Brownfield Cleanup Program and the Brownfield Remediation & Revitalization Program:

Expanding Eligibility

  • Allowing short term leases of five years or less to be considered for participation in both the Abandoned Brownfield Cleanup Program and Brownfield Remediation & Revitalization Program
  • DECD must accept Brownfield Remediation & Revitalization Program property applications or nominations from Connecticut brownfield land banks (CBLB)
  • CBLBs, local nonprofit organizations that remediate contaminated properties and sell them for redevelopment, must be the treated the same as municipalities and economic development agencies under the Brownfield Remediation & Revitalization Program

Setting Timeframe to Acquire Properties

  • An applicant seeking to participate in the Abandoned Brownfield Cleanup Program must join the program within six months of acquiring the title to the property, unless granted an exception from DECD in working with DEEP. Currently, no deadline exists for when a person must enter the program
  • Applicants looking to be named as eligible for either the Abandoned Brownfield Cleanup Program or the Brownfield Remediation & Revitalization Program must take the title to the property within two years of being awarded the designation by DECD. The deadline can be extended if requested by the applicant

Make Vetting of Properties More Efficient

Under the Abandoned Brownfield Cleanup Program, DEEP would be required to decide whether to audit a licensed environmental professional’s verification of a property within 60 days of receiving it. Currently, there is no deadline for DEEP under the program if it will conduct an audit.

  • If DEEP decides to conduct an audit of an Abandoned Brownfield Cleanup Program verification, then it must be done within 180 days starting after the verification is given. The time limit can be waived for reasons including there is reason to believe information provided for verification was misleading or there is information the properties remediation did not prevent substantial threats to public health or the environment
  • After completing an audit, DEEP has two weeks to approve or deny verification. The applicant for the property would have up to 60 days to rectify the reasons for denial
    Deadlines for auditing are already in effect for the Brownfield Remediation & Revitalization Program.

The Abandoned Brownfield Cleanup Program gives a chance for developers, who are not responsible for the property’s contamination, to investigate and remediate off-site contamination of projects that meet economic development criteria. Developers in the program would be afforded liability relief.

The Brownfield Remediation and Revitalization Program supports the streamlining of redeveloping brownfield properties. Up to 32 projects per year can be accepted for admission into the program by DECD in consultation with DEEP. Eligible projects are selected on factors including job creation and retention and forecasted increase to a municipal grand list.