The term brownfields refers to abandoned industrial or commercial facilities, usually contaminated by chemicals and/or other hazardous waste. The size of a brownfield can vary from a small vacant city lot to a large abandoned manufacturing facility spreading over several hundred acres. The extent of contamination will also vary depending on what facility was operating on it before abandonment, and can range from minor surface debris to extensive hazardous soil and/or ground water contamination

The term brownfield was first used in the mid to late 1970s, mainly with reference to the steel industry. Although abandoned, contaminated sites existed before the 1970s, the problem of brownfields became more prominent during that decade for two reasons: The closure and downsizing of numerous steel plants in 1970s as the ...

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