Glossary

Brownfield
Any real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
CERCLA
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act provides a Federal “Superfund” to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous-waste sites as well as accidents, spills, and other emergency releases of pollutants and contaminants into the environment. Through CERCLA, the EPA was given power to seek out those parties responsible for any release and assure their cooperation in the cleanup.
Cleanup or Remediation
To clean up, mitigate, correct, abate, minimize, eliminate, control or prevent a release of a regulated substance into the environment in order to protect the present of future public health, safety, welfare or the environment, including preliminary actions to study or assess the release. (Act 1995-2)
Engineering Controls
Remedial actions directed exclusively toward containing or controlling the migration of regulated substances through the environment. These include, but are not limited to, slurry walls, liners systems, caps, leachate collection systems and groundwater recovery trenches.
Greenfield
Contiguous area that has never been developed or that has been used solely for agricultural or forestry uses.
Grayfield
Older, obsolescent, and abandoned retail or commercial areas. Can include malls, strip centers, power centers (centers dominated by a few large tenants), and neighborhood centers (typically anchored by a grocery store).
Institutional Controls
A measure undertaken to limit or prohibit certain activities that may interfere with the integrity of a remedial action or result in exposure to regulated substances at a site. These include, but are not limited to fencing or restrictions on the future use of the site.
Phase I Environmental Assessment
An investigation by a qualified environmental professional that typically involves a property survey, interviews with local residents, and a review of the historical property records to determine the potential for site contamination. (Act 1995-2) This is an inquiry stage and typically no samples are collected or tested.
Phase II Environmental Assessment
Most commonly conducted after a Phase I ESA determines there is a potential for site contamination. This is a physical investigation that collects and tests soil, groundwater, and building materials for contamination.
Phase III Environmental Assessment
Completed after a Phase II identifies the type and amount of contaminate on a site. A Phase III ESA will detail the appropriate remediation technique and follow-up monitoring as required for the future use.
All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI)
The process of evaluating a property's environmental conditions and assessing potential liability for any contamination.
Due Diligence
The duty of the investor to gather necessary information on actual or potential risks involved in an investment.
Environmental Due Diligence
A key first step in most transactions leading to site development or Brownfield redevelopment projects.. (MGKF - an environmental and energy law practice)
Innocent Landowner Defense
One of three statutory defenses to liability for the purchase of contaminated real estate. The other two are an Act of God and An Act of War.
Potentially Responsible Parties (PRP)
  1. The owner and operator of a vessel or a facility,
  2. Any person who at the time of disposal of any hazardous substance owned or operated any facility at which such hazardous substances were disposed of,
  3. Any person who by contract, agreement, or otherwise arranged for disposal or treatment, or arranged with a transporter for transport for disposal or treatment, of hazardous substances owned or possessed by such person, by any other party or entity, at any facility or incineration vessel owned or operated by another party or entity and containing such hazardous substances, and
  4. Any person who accepts or accepted any hazardous substances for transport to disposal or treatment facilities, incineration vessels or sites selected by such person, from which there is a release, or a threatened release which causes the incurrence of response costs, of a hazardous substance