The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) defines an eligible brownfield site as “any real property where a contaminant is present at levels exceeding the soil cleanup objectives (SCOs) or other health-based or environmental standards, criteria or guidance adopted by DEC that are applicable based on the reasonably anticipated use of the property.”  The DEC Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) aims to facilitate the redevelopment of urban sites that have been damaged by historical contamination.  Once the BCP project is completed, the property owner receives a limitation on his or her liability for the identified pollution present at the site, in addition to eligibility for various tax credits, including the Site Preparation Credit, On-site Groundwater Remediation Credits, and Tangible Property Credit.

The following site classifications, which may otherwise fall under the aforementioned definition, are not considered by the DEC under the BCP:

  • Those subject to existing state/federal cleanup enforcement actions
  • Those subject to a cleanup order under Article 12 of the Navigational Law
  • USEPA National Priority List Sites
  • Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities
  • Class 1 and 2 designations


In order to have a site considered for the BCP, the property owner or a designated representative must complete a BCP application form. It is highly recommended, but not required by the DEC for the applicant to schedule a pre-application meeting to confirm property eligibility and to ensure that no items were overlooked.


Prior to the submission of the application form, the applicant must collect all available groundwater, soil, and soil vapor analysis for comparison against the SCOs.  If there is a lack of historical information, the applicant shall collect this information.  The party must also obtain and/or provide information regarding the site’s former, current, and proposed use.  To initiate remediation under the BCP, the applicant must also submit a Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) in accordance with DER-10, the NYS DEC’s Technical Guidance for Site Investigation and Remediation.


If the application is determined by the DEC to be complete and a RAWP is submitted, there is a 45-day public comment period where comments are accepted.   Once the comment period is closed, the DEC makes a final ruling on BCP eligibility.


Walden has a team of engineering professionals that can assist you from start to finish in completing your BCP application, including site investigation services and preparation of a RAWP.  Please contact us today at (516) 624-7200 to get started on your Brownfield project, or read some of our other posts on the Brownfield Program in New York City.