Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Thursday, March 9, 2023

DEC Marks Successful Year for State's Brownfield Cleanup Program

Cleanup Program Advances Comprehensive Cleanups, Affordable Housing, and Economic Redevelopment Efforts Statewide

53 Cleanups Completed in 2022, Including More Than 20 New Affordable Housing Projects

72 New Sites Accepted into Brownfield Cleanup Program

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced another year of successful environmental cleanups in the State's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). In 2022, DEC issued 53 Certificates of Completion to sites in the program and accepted 72 new sites into the BCP, helping protect public health and the environment across New York State while revitalizing neighborhoods and strengthening local economies.

"New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program is a powerful tool for transforming former industrial properties to support local revitalization efforts and improve quality of life for New York families across the state," Commissioner Seggos said. "Cleaning up these former brownfields helps protect public health and the environment while creating new economic development opportunities. Under Governor Hochul's leadership, this valuable program has been extended and improved, ensuring that necessary work to address environmental contamination and support the construction of affordable housing can continue, especially in underserved communities disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution."

DEC oversees New York State's BCP, which encourages the voluntary clean-up of contaminated properties known as "brownfields," so these sites can be redeveloped and returned to productive use. A brownfield site is any real property where a contaminant is present at levels exceeding health-based or environmental standards or applicable clean-up objectives based on the anticipated future use of the property. The program encourages private-sector remediation of brownfields and promotes redevelopment of these sites to revitalize communities. Site uses include recreation, housing, business, or other uses. The BCP is a sustainable alternative to greenfield development, helping to preserve existing undeveloped land while removing barriers to, and provide tax incentives for, the redevelopment of urban brownfields.

Since its inception in 2003, DEC has approved 1,232 applications to the BCP and issued Certificates of Completion (COCs) to 595 formerly contaminated properties statewide. DEC issues COCs based on its expert review of the Final Engineering Report, which certifies the remediation work performed by the applicant meets cleanup requirements for the protection of public health and the environment. The COC triggers the availability of tax credits for eligible parties and allows the certificate holder to redevelop the site. The average time to complete a BCP-from application approval to issuance of a COC-in 2022 was 3.74 years, down from the average of 4.34 since the program's start in 2003.

More than 20 of the 53 completed cleanups in 2022 will result in the creation of thousands of affordable housing units across New York City and New York State. Construction of new affordable housing units was identified as a priority in Governor Kathy Hochul's 2023 State of the State Address. Governor Hochul's Fiscal Year 2022-23 Enacted State Budget extended and expanded the Brownfield Cleanup Program to help create healthier communities by encouraging the continued cleanup of contamination throughout the state. The Budget reauthorized the program for 10 years and improves the BCP by incentivizing cleanups in disadvantaged communities and cleanups that result in additional affordable housing construction. Governor Hochul's Housing Compact outlined a statewide strategy to build 800,000 new homes over the next decade to meet the historic housing shortage, and support New York renters and homeowners.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Thanks to the New York Brownfield Cleanup Program, 20 former industrial properties across the State have been transformed into modern affordable housing developments for New Yorkers over the last year alone. In addition to creating housing, this important program benefits our environment, yields new public services and amenities, and bolsters local economies by replacing eyesores or vacant parcels with beautiful new developments. Congratulations to the DEC for another successful year and we look forward to continuing this fruitful partnership in 2023 and beyond."

Some completed BCP projects are located in the New York Department of State's Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) (leaves DEC website). The BCP and BOA programs complement one another and along with DEC partners, including the State Department of Health and State Office of Homes and Community Renewal, help transform former industrial sites into community assets that support businesses, jobs, and revenue for local economies, as well as new housing opportunities and public amenities.

"The Department of State works closely with DEC to transform brownfield sites from liabilities into community assets, particularly in New York's underserved communities that are disproportionately burdened by the legacy of industrial pollution," said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. "The Department of State's Brownfield Opportunity Area program has successfully paved the way for the revitalization of communities throughout New York State by generating new businesses, jobs, housing, infrastructure and public amenities through effective planning, technical assistance and pre-development grants."

A few of the successful cleanups completed in 2022 are:

Harbor View Square, Oswego - Site Number C738040

Through several remedial programs and the investment and commitment from multiple private and governmental agencies, the threat posed by contamination has been addressed at this former manufacturing facility, and an underutilized property adjacent to significant natural resources has been restored to productive use. Once occupied by a variety of industrial operations, this site in downtown Oswego sits near the shore of Lake Ontario with views of the Oswego River. The site investigation was completed in DEC's Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) under a State grant awarded to the city of Oswego. On-site contamination was remediated by a private developer under the BCP while off-site contamination was addressed under the State Superfund Program. Located within the Oswego Corridor BOA, designated by the Department of State in 2015, Harbor View Square was eligible to receive bonus tax credits for redeveloping the site consistent with the community's own vision as laid out in their BOA plan. The redevelopment consists of a mix of residential and commercial use including 66 units designated as affordable housing and 11 units that are accessible apartments for those with a physical disability or hearing/vision impairment. Each of the buildings earned the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Energy Star Homes designation as well as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes certification. The redevelopment was recently awarded the upstate region's Project of the Year by the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH).

Former Pilgrim Village Apartments, Buffalo - Site Numbers C915362 and C915363

The Former Pilgrim Village Family Apartments (#C915362) and Former Pilgrim Village Senior Apartments (#C915363) are two related BCP sites in the city of Buffalo. The sites have both achieved a Track 1 cleanup that allows for unrestricted use. The two sites are currently under construction to build 124 units of affordable family and 98 units of affordable senior apartments. The redevelopment includes parking for apartment residents and visitors, playground, gardens, outdoor social areas, a community center, and retail space on the ground floor.

45 Commercial Street, Brooklyn - Site Number C224304

The 45 Commercial Street site is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, near the junction of the East River and Newtown Creek. The site is within the 22-acre multi-parcel Greenpoint Landing redevelopment project. Remediation under the BCP was performed concurrently with site development. When completed, the site will be occupied by a mixed-use residential and commercial building with 374 residential affordable housing units and ground floor retail. The building is six-stories with a 22-story tower set back from Commercial Street.

A list of sites that have been issued a COC in New York can be found at the New York State Open Data website. Highlights of other DEC cleanup success stories are available on the DEC website.

For more information on the BCP, visit DEC's BCP webpage.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - John Salka
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1016
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions