Skip to Main Content

Brownfield Redevelopment Specialists and Site Managers


Interest in the environment started to grow in the 1960s and 1970s. How bad were things before environmental regulations were introduced and enforced? Waterways were so polluted with toxic chemicals that some of them burst into flames, such as the Cayahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, and others had degraded to a point where they could no longer sustain life, such as Lake Erie. Manufacturers had been releasing harmful waste into the air, the water, and onto the land for decades, with few, if any, restrictions. Further fueling concern for the environment was the release of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, which shone a light on the indiscriminate use of chemicals in agriculture and for pest control.

Many laws were passed during this time to protect the environment, which in turn would improve the health of the general public, animals, and nature. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970, to conduct research, monitor environmental activities, and to set standards and enforce regulations to protect the environment. The EPA describes a brownfield 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."

The profession of brownfield redevelopment and site manager has grown in the past few decades as new environmental laws are introduced and as existing regulations have become stricter. When manufacturers move facilities to other locations and old sites are abandoned, brownfield redevelopment specialists and site managers are needed to test the sites for contaminants prior to redevelopment and make recommendations for actions needed to make the site compliant with environmental laws and standards.

Related Professions