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(23/P60) TRENTON – Renewing its commitment to a fairer and greener New Jersey, Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette today announced the relaunch of the DEP’s nationally recognized Brownfield Development Area Program, which aims to assist selected communities across the state in designing and implementing comprehensive remediation and redevelopment plans for underutilized contaminated properties. 

Municipalities are encouraged to apply here through April 30, 2024 to designate abandoned and blighted properties in their communities as a Brownfield Development Area (BDA). A BDA designation will kickstart a coordinated effort through the DEP to advance the investigation, remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites.

BDA Event

“Relaunching of the BDA program is a renewal of DEP’s commitment to the redevelopment of brownfield sites that place a tremendous economic, environmental and public health burden on municipalities,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “The BDA program is designed to encourage investment and to bring these properties back to their full potential.” 

A brownfield is a current commercial or industrial site that is vacant or underutilized and which has or is suspected to have contamination. DEP’s innovative and voluntary BDA program partners with a municipality or redevelopment authority and its stakeholders to focus technical and financial resources on brownfield sites, with a vision for redevelopment and community revitalization.

Transforming brownfields begins with applying to the DEP for BDA designation. Once BDAs are selected, municipalities and redevelopment authorities are eligible for up to $5 million annually in Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF) grants, including remedial action matching grants providing up to 75 percent of the remedial action costs for all site end uses. Additionally, DEP provides a single point of contact in the Office of Brownfield and Community Revitalization, who works closely with municipal officials, stakeholders, developers and Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs) to coordinate investigation, remediation and redevelopment plans. Since its inception in 2003, the BDA program has provided nearly $200 million in HDSRF grants to 31 municipalities for environmental investigation and remediation. 

Commissioner LaTourette announced the relaunch today at the former National Lead site in Sayreville, Middlesex County, which was once contaminated with heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), radiological contaminants and other pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided technical guidance on removal of PCBs from two Superfund sites on the property. Remediation work at the 418-acre site is nearly complete after 15 years, and construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2024 to transform the property into a $2.5 billion mixed-use redevelopment project. It is the largest and most complex redevelopment project in New Jersey history.


The former National Lead site, part of the Sayreville Waterfront BDA, has been a more than $120 million remediation effort, including $20 million in Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Funds (HDSRF) that helped leverage $100 million in private sector funding. The project developer has also applied to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for grant funds. The NJEDA co-manages the HDSRF program.

The future Riverton waterfront redevelopment is anticipated to create a 6.5 million-square-foot mixed-use development with about 1.3 million square feet of retail and entertainment space, 2 million square feet of office and other commercial space and about 2,000 residential units, which includes 300 affordable housing units. 

Creating fairer, greener communities 

Redevelopment of brownfield sites supports the Murphy Administration’s environmental justice and climate resilience goals and supports the state’s community revitalization and economic development programs. The BDA Program works closely with municipal officials and redevelopers to incorporate climate adaptation and resilience elements such as raising site elevations, restoring or enhancing riparian and/or shoreline habitats and incorporating new green and/or gray stormwater management features. 

To date, the BDA program has transformed more than 1,000 acres of blighted brownfields into productive reuses that have created stronger, fairer communities, while benefiting local, regional, state and global environments.     

Overburdened communities have the highest density of brownfield sites, which present opportunities to provide new community assets to underserved communities that lack environmental and/or public health benefits. 

“Redeveloping brownfields in overburdened communities can lead to a quality-of-life transformation for its residents,” said Office of Environmental Justice Director Kandyce Perry. “These types of projects produce jobs, improve environmental infrastructure, provide access to nature and recreation and create economic revitalization.”  

 Building success stories  

The BDA Program helped create hundreds of acres of new open space, recreation and waterfront access to underserved communities including Camden, Elizabeth, Newark, Paterson, Jersey City, Perth Amboy and Trenton. Repurposing of blighted brownfield sites have also resulted in thousands of new housing units within new mixed-use developments and transit-oriented developments areas in municipalities including Harrison, Orange, West Orange, Woodbridge, Rahway, Carteret, Haddon Township, Bayonne, Plainfield and Palmyra. Climate adaptation and resiliency elements have been placed in, or are planned for BDAs in Jersey City, Bayonne, Camden, Perth Amboy, Trenton and Sayreville BDA's Riverton development.  

During the past 10 years just in Camden, more than 100 acres of new open space has been created on six former brownfield sites within or near BDAs, including the 62-acre Cramer Hill Waterfront Park, the 25-acre Gateway Park and the expansion of the 10-acre Whitman Park.  

In Perth Amboy, Union County, redevelopment of brownfields sites in and near BDAs that were vacant for decades are projected to produce more than 6,000 new jobs and $20 million annually in new taxes in warehouses for major retailers.  

In Palmyra, Burlington County, the BDA program has helped transform most of the 190 acres of brownfields along Route 73, where an abandoned landfill and former munitions range will soon generate more than 1,000 new jobs, at least 20 percent of the borough’s annual taxes, and create 102 affordable housing units and 34 acres of new open space and trails.  

“The Palmyra Route 73 BDA is a great example of how a small town can successfully tackle large brownfield sites to remake its former industrial and commercial zone that became abandoned and underutilized over time,” said DEP Assistant Commissioner for Contaminated Site Remediation & Redevelopment David Haymes.  

“It’s great to be in Sayreville today for the relaunch of the Brownfields Development Area Program. Together with this program and the funding I included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, communities across New Jersey will be able to repurpose the land and return it to good use,” Congressman Frank Pallone said. “The relaunch of this program will help build on our progress across New Jersey to clean up and revitalize these contaminated sites so we can generate new jobs and economic opportunities. I’m grateful to everyone who joined us today, including Commissioner LaTourette and Speaker Coughlin. I’ll keep fighting to ensure every community – particularly those that have been historically overlooked and underserved – receives the resources they need.”

“I am thrilled to join the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in celebrating the relaunch of their Brownfield Development Area Program, a vital initiative that supports the transformation of contaminated sites from community liabilities to community assets,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “The Sayreville Waterfront Brownfield Development Area is a prime example of how the BDA Program can help overcome the complex challenges of remediating and repurposing large-scale brownfields, by fostering economic growth, advancing environmental protection, and furthering environmental equity.”

“I am pleased to see the DEP's commitment to relaunch the successful Brownfield Development Area program. For far too long, we have allowed environmental cleanup to be separate and distinct from development,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “The legacy of brownfields doesn’t have to be a chain link fence and stories about what might have been. Programs like this bring a renewed vision for communities, in partnership with the state's technical expertise, to safely turn the page toward the redevelopment and repurposing of some of the state's best real estate assets. As a result of the BDA Program, the Riverton project will redefine the future of the Sayreville community.”

“Given New Jersey’s industrial past that included the manufacture and handling of dangerous and sometimes poisonous metals, chemicals and materials, the Brownfield Development Area Program is a vital and cost-saving resource that helps our towns clean up, assess and reclaim polluted land,” said Senator Joe Vitale. “I want to thank the Murphy Administration and DEP for its vision and its commitment to relaunch the Brownfield program for municipalities. These environmentally conscious projects, such as the designated Sayreville Brownfield Development Area, will allow communities to defray the costs of remediation and help them to turn long-contaminated properties into ratable development that boosts local economies and provides jobs. 

“I would also like to applaud the Biden administration for taking the lead on this issue, and for providing grant opportunities for eligible projects through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” Senator Vitale added. “This investment offers only upsides and will enable towns across New Jersey to return blighted lands to productive reuse.” 

“Transforming a brownfield site from an environmental burden into a vibrant hub of opportunity through cleanup and strategic zoning is like turning the page in a city's story,” said Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex). "Perth Amboy is proof of this. The revitalization of nearly 180 acres in my hometown led to the construction of three warehouses, creating jobs for hundreds of workers. The rooftop of one of those warehouses is covered in solar panels under the state’s community solar program, providing renewable energy to residents who cannot install solar panels on their own residences. We are proof that a fresh start can yield enormous benefits.”

“As stewards of our environment, it's our collective responsibility to protect our natural resources and address pollution-related challenges. Today, we are one step closer to that goal, thanks to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and their outstanding work in relaunching the Brownfields Development Assistance Program for Municipalities,” said Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners Director Ronald G. Rios. “On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, we are truly excited for the future of the Riverton development, and look forward to working with North American Properties, and our partners across all levels of government to ensure the success of this project.” 

Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP