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Six Tips for Successful Brownfield Remediation

May 25th, 2016

Brownfield properties are lands that are potentially contaminated due to historical, industrial or commercial land practices and are underutilized, derelict, or vacant. They are often located in key community areas such as downtown or along the waterfront and can have both cultural heritage and social value. While they are more complex to develop than traditional Greenfield properties, doing so can be profitable, help revitalize a community, and encourage further economic investment.

  1. Understand the Problem:

Every brownfield site is different and requires a thorough investigation to understand the extent and type of contamination. In addition to traditional methods, using advanced characterization tools (membrane interface probes, hydraulic profiling tools, etc.) offers a wealth of data that can drastically improve remedial design.

  1. Take Advantage of Financial incentives:

In Ontario, there are a number of financial incentives available for the redevelopment of Brownfields. For example, feasibility grants can help with the costs of environmental assessments and tax relief is available for properties with cultural heritage. Government programs such as the Brownfields Financial Tax Incentive Program (BFTIP) encourages cleanup and development of Brownfield properties.

  1. Secure Protection From Litigation:

In addition to letters confirming that no further action or remediation is required at a Brownfield site, developers can also pursue covenants not to sue. Environmental insurance is also available to developers, typically in the form of coverage should expenses exceed a specified cap. These protections vary by site and should be considered when undertaking a project.

  1. Work with Municipalities:

Municipalities are a critical factor in the success of any Brownfield redevelopment project. If the municipality is invested, they can help alleviate many regulatory barriers and help create value by engaging citizens in a common vision or providing guidance for aligning redevelopment with future plans for the city.

  1. Be Creative With The Development Plan:

Almost every redevelopment project requires remediation, whether it’s soil excavation or groundwater cleanup. One way to mitigate the cost is to incorporate remediation into the development plan. A common example is offsetting the cost of soil removal by planning for an underground parking garage.

  1. Select the Right Technology:

There are many options available when it comes to remediation technology and it is important to select the one that best fits the site conditions. Contaminant type and concentration, budget, and development timeframe will play a major role when choosing the most cost-effective option. Finding a technology partner with expertise that can assist with the selection can be of tremendous value.

CCC Chemicals, along with our vendor partner Regenesis, can provide a comprehensive range of environmental products that can be used to remediate a site and pave the way for development. Below are examples of sites that were remediated using three different types of technologies.

PlumeStop and ORC-Advanced

An active gas station in Bothell, Washington had hydrocarbon impacted soil and groundwater and, despite the installation of soil vapour extraction (SVE) and air sparging (AS) system, it failed to meet environmental standards.

Working with Regenesis, the consultant decided on the strategy of injecting:

  • PlumeStop: A colloidal suspension of microscale activated carbon that can rapidly remove contaminants from groundwater via adsorption, and expedite biodegradation
  • ORC-Advanced (ORC-A): A product which produces a controlled release oxygen for up to twelve months and can accelerate natural biodegradation processes.

After applying the PlumeStop and ORC-A via direct-push technology (DPT), reduction of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminant concentrations in soil and groundwater was achieved within 24 hours and are now below Washington State standards.

This project is a demonstration of how PlumeStop can be a very effective tool to promote rapid reduction of dissolved-phase plumes and help achieve stringent cleanup standards leading to permanent site closure.


A brownfield site in southwestern Ontario exhibited a hydrocarbon plume originating from a former gasoline station that was migrating off-site, presenting liability concerns. Previous remedial efforts included the injection of base-activated persulfate, but did not result in significant reductions due to rebounding issues and problems with pH buffering.

In-Situ Remediation Limited, the contractor on site, selected PersulfOx as part of their remedial strategy. PersulfOx is sodium persulfate catalyzed with a proprietary catalyst. The inclusion of this catalyst alleviates the pH issues that often adversely affect base-activated persulfate applications. It is an all-in-one product that also eliminates the need to handle hazardous activators such as hydrogen peroxide or caustic soda.

Injections of PersulfOx were conducted and cleanup criteria was quickly achieved, resulting in 2+ years of monitoring results that met provincial standards.