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  • By Fuad Dahan, Ph.D., P.E., LSRP

Environmental cleanup role in new development trends

The current trends in the real estate industry have brought positive changes to several towns. We expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future. Environmental engineering has evolved to economically remediate properties impacted with traditional contaminants. Emerging contaminants that have been or are in the process of being regulated pose new challenges for remediation, however, advances in treatment technologies are happening fast. The “Millennial Lifestyle” is creating forces that are re-directing real estate development. The “live, work, play” style of living and the preference to be in the vicinity of work or public transportation are bringing about the development of large residential buildings near transport stations (transportation-oriented development) or in mid- to small-size communities. The increase of on-line business and other businesses, such as micro-farming, result in the need to develop large warehouses near major highways.

These trends are leading to the revival of cities and towns that were historically industrial centers. These towns offer the convenience of public transportation and often, water-front living. Sites such as old manufacturing plants or closed landfills that have been avoided for decades because of their environmental liabilities are now drawing major investors, who watch the already high real-estate values grow. The development of environmentally-challenging sites has been aided by financial assistance – grants and local tax incentives – and a set of regulations, including the Brownfield Act and Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) that created the LSRP program.

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