Brownfields Land Recycling Program

Brownfields LogoBrownfields is a term used to describe real estate that is contaminated or perceived to be contaminated by hazardous substances or petroleum in soil or groundwater. The complexity and cost of cleanup creates an obstacle to redevelopment or reuse of the property.  Brownfields examples include closed landfills, abandoned gas stations, old manufacturing facilities, and former dry cleaning facilities. The cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields brings many economic development benefits to a community.  Since 1998, more than $300 million in private investment has restored approximately 310 acres of previously contaminated land and created or maintained over 3,300 jobs. In addition, more than 30 sites have been redevelopment for public use.

Program Goal

The goal of the program is to reduce obstacles and provide assistance for redevelopment of brownfields in the city.   The program is managed by the Office of Environmental Programs and has two components:  1) assistance to city departments for redevelopment of contaminated sites for public use, and 2) assistance to the private sector for redevelopment of sites that benefit the community by reducing environmental exposures, job creation, services, and revitalizing neighborhoods.

Phoenix Submitting Brownfields Grant Applications to EPA due Dec. 3, 2019

The City of Phoenix is submitting two grant applications for 2020 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Grant Funds:

1) $600,000 - Rio Reimagined Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant Application, 3 year grant.  This assessment grant would provide $600,000 in funding for environmental assessments of property acquisitions for the Rio Reimagined Project/Rio Salado Project for the Coalition comprised of Avondale, Buckeye, Phoenix and Tempe.  Phoenix will serve as the lead Application for the Coalition.  These grant funds can be used to fund brownfields inventories, development of brownfields land use plans, and for environmental site assessments to define the actual environmental conditions, if any, at underutilized sites. This allows potential buyers to make informed decisions about redevelopment opportunities on these sites and encourages the redevelopment of properties that may otherwise remain unused.

2) $1,000,000 - City of Phoenix Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Application, 5 year grant.  The Brownfields RLF Grant funds a RLF program to provide low interest rate loans and subgrants to eligible entities to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites contaminated with hazardous substances and/or petroleum. The RLF would be available to projects city-wide with a focus on targeted areas, including, the Rio Reimagined Project, designated Redevelopment Areas, Neighborhood Initiative Areas, and special projects, such as the Edison-Eastlake Choice Neighborhoods. The fund is termed revolving because it will use the loan and interest repayments to provide new loans to additional borrowers.  Private sector businesses, developers, and nonprofits can use these loan funds to cleanup environmentally contaminated sites.

Notice of awards are anticipated in Spring 2020 with the funding available in October 2020.  For more information contact:


Phoenix Brownfields to Healthfields Project: Transforming Community Health through Sustainable Development

Potential Redevelopment Opportunities Inventory

OEP was awarded a $400,000 community-wide brownfields assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Phoenix Brownfields to Healthfields Project. The overall goal of the project is to remove hazardous substances and pollutants from identified brownfield properties and to redevelop these properties for uses that improve public health.  The EPA grant will fund development of a city-wide brownfields inventory, environmental site assessments, health monitoring, and cleanup planning activities. 

Proposed reuses include:

  • healthcare facilities, clinics (permanent and mobile),
  • healthy food outlets: supermarkets, temporary food retailers, mobile markets, food hubs, farmers markets,
  • urban agriculture: aquaponics, hydroponics, controlled environment agriculture, community supported agriculture, community and school gardens.

The impact of this project results in improved community health due to the elimination of exposure to hazardous substances and creation of opportunities for improved access to healthcare and healthy foods, which positively impacts environmental and health equity.

For urban agriculture and other uses that would directly involve the growing of food, hazardous substances and pollutants would be removed prior to food production.  In addition, soil testing and evaluation will be conducted according to regulatory standards and best management practices by project partners, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Arizona Department of Health Services to ensure the safety of residents who grow or consume food. 

Grant activities will be focused in areas with inadequate health care, food deserts, and designated infill incentive, neighborhood initiative, and redevelopment areas.  Focusing on these areas within Phoenix meets EPA's social and economic requirements for sustainable and equitable development, in addition to building upon existing brownfields efforts previously funded by EPA.  





Fifth Street & Buckeye Road Redevelopment Project Completed

The transformation of the former East Washington Fluff Site, metal salvage yard, in Phoenix’s central core is the extraordinary achievement of a decades-long collaboration between the City of Phoenix, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This 9.6-acre property was abandoned by its owner in 1986 leaving the most challenging brownfield site in Phoenix.  The entire property contained more than 6,000 tons of hazardous materials piled up to 18 feet above and 9 to 18 feet below the surface.  These materials were a threat to public health and the environment, and the property was designated a Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund Registry (WQARF) site, also known as a state Superfund site.

Local, state and federal government agencies worked hand-in-hand with Harrison Properties Inc., which purchased the site in 2007, to conduct environmental investigations, clean up surface waste, place a protective cap, address delinquent property taxes and assist with redevelopment. The key element to restoring the site was the installation of 539 helical piers to support the two buildings that total 171,640 square feet, the best method to ensure the buildings would not move or settle.  Local Artist Joe Willie Smith created a sculpture that pays tribute to the difficult site, the important role of the helical piers, and used numerous historical artifacts from in the mosaic base of the piece. 

The site was the first to be removed from the WQARF Registry and redeveloped.  the project received a $250,000 brownfields grant from the City of Phoenix  to help mitigate remediation and construction costs.  The benefits of this $12 million project include enhanced community health, neighborhood revitalization, environmental protection, and job creation that will be experienced for years to come.


Other Projects

Del Rio Area Brownfields Planning Project

Del Rio Area Brownfields Land Use Plan



Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Brownfields ProgramU.S. EPA Brownfields ProgramCenter for Creative Land Recycling