what does a brownfield redevelopment specialist do

What does a Brownfield Redevelopment Specialist do?

A brownfield redevelopment specialist is the person assigned to assess the condition of the site and determine what steps must take place in order to rehabilitate the site to remove those hazardous conditions that make it inhospitable. A ‘brownfield’ is a property that can be reused once hazardous materials and pollutants are removed. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA), there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States alone.

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How to Become a Brownfield Redevelopment Specialist

According to O*NET OnLine, over 65% of all redevelopment specialists surveyed held a bachelor’s degree. The remaining specialists held a certification after earning their bachelor’s or continued onto a master’s degree. This position requires a blend of experience and education. A person must have experience managing projects and working knowledge in environmental science.

Degrees that would prove useful coupled with experience include degrees in business and project management. Degrees in environmental studies or engineering can also help. If you gain your degree in business, you’ll need to consider ongoing training or on-the-job experience to get the environmental knowledge you need. If you gain your degree in environmental studies, you’ll need to gain business experience.

Job Description of a Brownfield Redevelopment Specialist

There are many parts and pieces that go into analyzing, planning and directing the cleanup of a brownfield site to ensure the site meets safety standards and is habitable. Brownfield redevelopment specialists must inspect a site slated for cleanup and then determine the best way to clean the site. They may also need to determine the cause of contamination if the source has yet to be determined.

These specialists must also estimate the overall cost to accomplish the clean-up task. This is a tall order as they must also consider other contractors that may need to become involved in the cleanup effort and estimate their costs as well. Along with cost estimation, they must also understand environmental laws and regulations to ensure they are stay compliant as well as any contractors working at the site. They will report on the status of the site’s progress and also continually evaluate the effectiveness of the clean-up efforts. Communication is vital, as those in this position may need to draft reports and present project plans to other interested parties.

Brownfield Redevelopment Specialist Career Video Transcript

Abandoned factories, military test sites, and old mines are eyesores, but they can also be hazardous to the health of people and the environment. Brownfield redevelopment specialists and site managers oversee efforts to make contaminated land livable again. These professionals use strong analytical skills to perform environmental impact assessments and take a close look at what it will cost to remove pollutants from the land so it can be used again. If the project is a go, they may plan for building demolition, cleanup, and new construction after applying for the proper permits.

Most of these specialists work for construction companies, engineering firms, economic and land developers, and environmental groups. Brownfield redevelopment managers need help to accomplish their plans and hire specialists like hydrologists, GIS technicians, and environmental engineers. Though outdoors at project sites some of the time, most managers do more work indoors, delivering progress reports to their clients. They must have a clear understanding of government regulations and compliance requirements. Entering the field requires a bachelor’s degree with a background in environmental science, field experience, and some on-the-job training. Long hours are sometimes required to meet project deadlines.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Careers in Environmental Remediation.

National Center for O*NET Development. 11-9199.11. O*NET OnLine.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. Overview of the Brownfields Program.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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