EPA Brownfields Cooperative Agreement

EPA Brownfields Assessment Cooperative Agreements

In 2023, the City of Oskaloosa was selected for a $300,000 Brownfields Hazardous Substances Assessment Cooperative Agreement. The city was among 9 communities in EPA region 7 and one of 6 communities in Iowa to receive Assessment grants this year. This funding will allow the City to continue our efforts to make improvements on sites with perceived hazardous substance issues.

In 2019, the City of Oskaloosa was awarded a $300,000 Brownfields Hazardous Substances Assessment Grant. 3 communities in EPA Region 7, all in Iowa, received Assessment Grants this year. These funds allow the City to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct cleanup planning on Brownfield sites. The City is currently working to organize resources for the project and to select a consulting firm to assist staff in the completion of environmental site assessments (ESAs) and perform other tasks related to the grant.

In 2014, the City of Oskaloosa received a $200,000 Brownfields Hazardous Substances Assessment Grant and a $200,000 Brownfields Petroleum Assessment Grant (EPA program code BF-97746201-1). Oskaloosa was the only community in Iowa, and one of three in EPA Region 7, to receive an Assessment Grant that year. The City hired HR Green, Inc. to assist city staff with community outreach activities and perform the environmental site assessments (ESAs). This Brownfields assessment grant period ended on September 30, 2018, and a Final Performance/Programmatic Report was submitted to the EPA on November 6, 2018.

What is a Brownfield?

Brownfields are defined by the EPA as "real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant." Contamination may or may not be present; perception alone is enough to be classified as a brownfield! The EPA estimates that there are over 450,000 brownfield sites in the United States.

Brownfields typically consist of underutilized or abandoned properties. These properties may have been or are currently gas stations, dry cleaners, auto repair shops, industrial manufacturers, warehouses, service stations, landfills, and mine scarred land. Clearing brownfields of environmental stigmas will promote redevelopment and help our neighborhoods remain vibrant and sustainable.

Benefits of Brownfields Redevelopment

  • protects our health and environment
  • facilitates job growth
  • stems urban sprawl
  • reuses existing infrastructure
  • spurs redevelopment activities
  • increases local tax base
  • eliminates eyesores and safety hazards
  • revitalizes neighborhoods

Get Informed and Stay Involved!

We want your input! Citizen participation is vital to ensuring the successful implementation of the Oskaloosa’s Brownfields Grant Program. Community involvement provides city officials with an understanding of your needs. We can then incorporate your feedback into sustainable redevelopment that creates jobs and attracts new residents and businesses. The following are several ways to become engaged in the Brownfields project:

1. The GIS Webportal

You can track the progress of this project on the City’s webportal at:

Oskaloosa Brownfields Map Webportal

Oskaloosa Brownfields Assessment Map

This highly-interactive tool features a Geographic Information System (GIS) map that displays relevant Brownfields project data. This date includes the sites targeted for investigation, sites with completed assessment activities, recognized environmental conditions, sampling locations, and environmental database records. All environmental investigation reports are also available for review or download.

2. Brownfields Brochure

The Brownfields Brochure (PDF) is an outreach tool designed to educate interested citizens on the EPA Brownfields Program. The brochure describes brownfields sites, provides information on the Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment process, answers FAQs, and lists contacts for the project.

3. Citizen Comment Form

City staff and HR Green, Inc. have prepared a list of questions designed to solicit critical feedback from the community. Simply download the form: Citizen Comment Form (PDF), fill it out, and e-mail it to Sean Murphy. The City will then carefully consider all your feedback and address any concerns.

4. Outreach Meetings

The City will host several public meetings throughout the project period. You can hear about how the project is progressing, review environmental investigation findings, and ask questions or provide comments. The City will post notice of all public meetings several weeks in advance.

5. Document Depository

All project documents are available for public review at the Oskaloosa Public Works Department located at 220 South Market Street in Oskaloosa during normal business hours (Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM).

Please contact Sean Murphy if you would like to get involved with the City of Oskaloosa’s Brownfields redevelopment initiative. You can also view the Cooperative Agreement Work Plan for additional information on the project.

6. Helpful Links

EPA Brownfields website: Brownfields

Iowa DNR Brownfields website: Contaminated Sites

Environmental Consultant website: HR Green

Brownfields Brochure (PDF)