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Banner, reinvesting in our industrial heritage, Rhode Island Brownfields

Project Sponsors


Cities and Towns can play a critical role in the redevelopment of abandoned or underutilized property.   By working with DEM, municipalities may qualify for funding for targeted assessments to restore areas of importance to communities.  Municipalities interested in sponsoring a brownfields project or program may benefit from   The International City/County Management Association's Superfund-Brownfields Research Institute (S-BRI) work which seeks to provide reliable information about how jurisdictions of all sizes have confronted the problem of contaminated properties in their communities. 

Responsible Parties

Responsible Party shall mean any or all of the following Persons:  
  • The Owner or Operator of a Contaminated Site
  • Any Person who, at the time of storage or disposal of any Hazardous Material, owned or operated a Contaminated Site
  • Any Person who, by contract, agreement, or otherwise, directly or indirectly, arranged for the disposal of Hazardous Materials at a Contaminated Site
  • Any Person who accepts or accepted any Hazardous Materials for transport or disposal or treatment facilities or Contaminated Sites selected by such Person and from which location there is a Release or a threatened Release of Hazardous Materials
  • The Person or legal entity controlling a Contaminated Site or activity that contains or led to a known or suspected Release  

(see responsible party and performing party in the regulations )

 Voluntary Parties

These Performing Parties are individuals, non-profit or for profit organizations, government entities, or Bona Fide Prospective Purchasers that voluntarily work to clean up a site but were not responsible for the contamination, including:  

Voluntary Performing Parties may complete an investigation or undertake a cleanup without assuming the liability of a responsible party unless the investigation itself increases the environmental contamination problem or if the cleanup is not in consistent with a plan approved by DEM. Voluntary Performing Parties must obtain legal access to the property for any site investigation or cleanup activities.  It is also advisable that volunteers meet with DEM to ensure that the plans for the property will not increase the environmental damage and to seek technical and potential financial assistance.

Bonafide Prospective Purchasers

Bona Fide Prospective Purchasers (BFPs) are a special type of voluntary party.   They are entities that would like to purchase the site and need to clean the site to reuse it, but were not responsible for the contamination, specifically:
  • Persons who intend to buy a site at fair market value and have documented that intent in writing BUT
  • Do not currently own more than 10% equitable or legal interest in the site or its operations NOR
  • Are they responsible parties

If a site is known or suspected to be contaminated,  a purchaser must sign a settlement agreement with DEM and commit to any necessary site investigations and cleanups determined to be necessary to avoid becoming a responsible party and assuming liability for environmental damages.  If a  settlement agreement is not signed a purchaser will become a responsible party when the purchaser takes ownership of the property or begin operations.  (see regulations)

last updated: 11/9/11

This site is a joint effort of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program

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