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ICMA TAB is a U.S. EPA grant-funded program that provides free technical assistance to brownfield impacted communities throughout the eight southeastern states and six tribes in the U.S. EPA Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee). 

Through the ICMA TAB program, communities in EPA Region 4 can access free technical assistance to support brownfield redevelopment efforts.

What Are Brownfields?

What Are Brownfields?

In everyday terms, brownfields are properties that might be contaminated. The perceived (or actual) contamination makes reuse of such sites difficult. Common examples of brownfields include abandoned gas stations, former dry cleaner sites, vacant commercial buildings on any Main Street corridor, or the large fenced off industrial site where people in the community used to work. Brownfields and their redevelopment challenges are found in all communities—large, small, urban, and rural.  

Every site has a history. Some site histories include operations that might have released contamination, pollutants, or toxins into the soil, groundwater, and surface water. Buildings on brownfield sites may be impacted by past hazardous releases in the soil and/or groundwater beneath them, or even by the materials that comprise buildings themselves.  

Definition: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a brownfield as, "a property where expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant".



Legacy sites and the former releases of petroleum, hazardous substances, or materials can create negative public and environmental health conditions that need to be addressed before a brownfield can be redeveloped. Brownfields also tend to fall into disuse creating a cycle of decline, and they may harbor unlicensed or illegal activity that is undesirable for the surrounding community. Such typical outcomes of unaddressed brownfield conditions have significant economic implications greatly reducing tax revenue, employment, and business opportunities. 

These impacts are not felt evenly across all communities. Lower income communities and communities of color endure a disproportionate share of brownfields and their negative impacts. As such, if equitable in implementation, brownfield redevelopment outcomes that address brownfield conditions often include advancement of environmental justice goals. 

Benefits of Redevelopment

Benefits of Redevelopment

Brownfield redevelopment catalyzes a host of benefits including job creation, economic development, healthier communities, improved natural environments, community building sustainability, resilience, and a stronger sense of place. Using improved public health and environmental quality to leverage economic development gets to the heart of brownfield redevelopment. 

Technical Assistance

ICMA TAB offers tailored technical assistance, free of charge, to assist in transitioning brownfields from liability to asset. This assistance is made possible through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Technical Assistance to Brownfield Communities (TAB) program. Throughout EPA Region 4, ICMA can provide technical assistance and give clear and actionable direction and feedback about specific sites, area-wide strategies, brownfield basics, best practices, technical subjects, building a brownfields program and program capacity, accessing EPA grant resources, and financial, legal, and regulatory processes, and more.


Clark Henry, director, chenry@icma.org

Christopher Harrell, senior program manager, charrell@icma.org 

Madalyn Dessy, assistant program manager, mdessy@icma.org

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