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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Buildings, Real Estate and Facilities > Brownfields Land Reclamation

Brownfields Reclamation Becomes Community College Campus in Newark, CA

EPA funds cleanup of community college campus

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Ohlone Community College LEED from Brownfield Brownfields are properties contaminated with toxic chemicals, whether from agriculture, mining, industry, etc. The EPA has a Brownfields program that provides funding and technical assistance to help analyze and reclaim these lands. Some brownfields, according to my contacts at the EPA, are "barely contaminated" and can easily be reclaimed for commercial projects. Others are "significantly" contaminated and require community support to clean up the contaminated soil and water to make the entire community safer.

It's a practical solution to clean up local sites. And it is promising to see this land reclaimed for community use. Ohlone college in Newark, CA is one such encouraging story.

Ohlone College Newark Center for Health Science and Technology

Ohlone College Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology, is the first community college in the United States designed to achieve the Platinum-level certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, officially opened its doors to 3,000 students on Jan. 28, 2008.

The EPA awarded a $200,000 Brownfields cleanup grant to the Ohlone Community College District in 2004 to clean up a 31-acre area of the then-future campus contaminated with the pesticide toxaphene.

EPA Brownfields Program Grant

The EPA's Brownfields program helped jump start the process toward revitalizing this land to make it a community asset. This project is an outstanding example of how federal and state programs can be brought together to turn pockets of land in our urban centers into usable, sustainable, green assets in our cities.

The brownfield property had formerly been used as agricultural land dating back to the 1930s. The EPA grant helped Ohlone College clean up the site and ready it for development. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control oversaw the removal and cleanup of 34,100 cubic yards of contaminated soil where the campus exists today.

Platinum LEED Rating for Community College Building

The Platinum-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating is a national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings that are economically profitable, environmentally friendly, healthy and productive places to work.

LEED green building standards were developed by industry representatives through the U.S. Green Building Council. The USGBC is made up of building owners, real estate developers, facility managers, architects, designers, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, product and building system manufacturers and government agencies. The EPA became a U.S. Green Building Council member in 2001.

The US EPA's Brownfield’s program supports and encourages redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the program, the EPA has awarded 1,067 assessment grants totaling more than $262 million, 217 revolving loan fund grants totaling more than $201.7 million, and 336 cleanup grants totaling $61.3 million.

For more information on the EPA’s Brownfields program, visit:

Ohlone's Newark Center
Ohlone College Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology
39399 Cherry Street
Newark, CA 94560-4902
(510) 659-6000

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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