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  • 5 Aug 2022 12:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Executive Director for the New York City Brownfield Partnership (NYCBP), Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE), and the Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association (LSRPA) writes to enthusiastically endorse on their behalf the movement of the CCNY 2023-2028 Brownfields Job Training Program from work in the Bronx to a focused attention on Harlem populations and sites. This letter can be read here.

  • 22 Jun 2022 2:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sixty-five environmental professionals spent the second day of summer 2022 soaking in information on known or projected changes to the NYS Brownfield Cleanup Program, changes to the NYSDEC proposed Part 360 regulations, and speculating on the future of environmental litigation, insurance, and remediation as related to “forever chemicals.”  The NYC Brownfield Partnership was pleased to welcome guests from ten M/WBE firms to introduce them to Partnership members in need of their services and to introduce the Roundtable as a rapid way to obtain all the recent information for remediation practitioners in the NYC area.  The next Roundtable is scheduled for December 13, 2022, but please watch your emails for an announcement of a fall Roundtable if needed or topic-specific webinars that are time critical, such as the implementation of new regulations.

    Posted June 22, 2022

  • 14 Jun 2022 3:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The NYC Brownfield Partnership would like to congratulate the winners of the 2022 Big Apple Brownfield Awards. To download a pdf of the following images, please click here.

  • 2 Jun 2022 10:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Viquar Chaudhry has assisted NYCBP with the analysis of the NYS BCP and tax credits.

    Viquar Chaudhry is a candidate for the MS in Real Estate Development at the NYU SPS Schack Institute of Real Estate. He will graduate on May 19 and will serve as flag bearer during the Convocation ceremony. While at the Schack Institute of Real Estate, he collaborated with Professor Barry Hersh on the New York State Brownfield Partnership to analyze the Brownfield Cleanup Program. He also authored numerous articles on real estate, sustainability, tech, and the metaverse. Licensed in real estate since he was 18 years old, Chaudhry focuses on luxury real estate. He worked with prominent teams in the industry before venturing to start his own development brand.

    What has been your favorite Schack Institute of Real Estate experience?

    One of the best parts about the NYU SPS experience is the access to professional events, such as Schack’s Capital Markets Conference, Women in Real Estate Conference, and REIT Symposium, which has allowed me to meet industry leaders. I have always looked up to Larry Silverstein, Sam Zell, and Stephen Ross; these conferences offered a wonderful opportunity to see them in person!


    Posted June 2, 2022

  • 5 May 2022 9:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    George Duke, from Brown Duke & Fogel, shared NYCBP's comments on on New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Proposed Part 375 Revisions. They can be accessed here. 

    Posted May 5, 2022

  • 5 May 2022 9:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NYCBP Member, Larry Schnapf, weighs in on this recent decision by the EPA.

    As we prediced, EPA received numerous negative comments to its Direct Final Rule that would have recognized that the new ASTM E1527-21 phase 1 standard may be used to comply with the All Appropriate Inquires (AAI) rule for asserting certain landowner liability defenses and qualify for brownfield grants.

    All of the comments criticized EPA’s plan to allow the obsolete E1527-13 to continue to be used to comply with AAI.  The commenters uniformly objected to EPA’s approach because they believed it would cause confusion in the marketplace and create a loophole that would allow substandard phase 1 providers to undercut the market. None of the comments posted on the EPA website for the rulemaking supported this dual approach.  I submitted negative comments which can be read 


    Posted May 5, 2022

  • 2 May 2022 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    Rolling up her sleeves and getting to work, Ezgi Karayel has established a crystalized multi-year vision to push the needle forward on brownfield redevelopment within the Partnership’s operating footprint. 

    The mission that she’s accepted will come about based on various X-factors: better leveraging of experience across the organization to wring greater results; higher involvement by firms to oversee programs; more accessibility to the Partnership thanks to revised by-laws, and a more powerful commitment to fostering the causes of the Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE)

    Those are just a handful of Karayel’s objectives.  

    The founder and principal of vEKtor Consultants, the new President also believes that although this “new normal” of the post-pandemic “seems very usual right now, it really wasn’t the case two years ago.”

    That period of time was the most compelling example of lessons learned as NYCBP was able to remain relevant during tough pandemic times, scheduling more than 20 virtual panels and programs since spring of 2020. It all came off splendidly thank to the many volunteers that stepped up to make events a success. That’s the key: volunteers to make things work.  

    From pre-acquisition to post-development, vEKtor Consultants provides full scope engineering consulting services. The New York State and New York City Small Business Services Certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) environmental consulting firm works with major real estate developers and shareholders in forging strategic approaches to the environmental challenges of complex real estate transactions and brownfield redevelopment.

    Karayel holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from University at Buffalo, and serves on the Advisory Board of Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast. She is the chair of the Partnership’s Scholarship Program and works closely with committee members to support the education and training of students who are pursuing environmental careers.

    And, Karayel’s tenure is being christened during a groundbreaking juncture: Currently, the entire Partnership Executive Board consists of women: She joins Vice President Laura Senkevitch (Human Rights First), Treasurer Michele Rogers (Blue World Construction) and Secretary Mari Cate Conlon (Haley & Aldrich of New York). 

    Read ahead for a conversation with the new President on a wide range of pertinent topics. 

    Q: As president of NYCBP, what is the three- to five-year vision you have outlined pertaining to the organization as a whole? 

    A: Last year, the board of directors revised the by-laws of the NYCBP. As a result of the revisions, a board member can now only serve for two consecutive terms [each term is two years]. Therefore, we will be seeing new members on the board in the near future. There are many firms contributing to the redevelopment of brownfield properties in NYC. It only makes sense to leverage one another’s experience to enhance the NYCBP programs. I suggest firms to be more involved with the NYCBP and create potential gateways to serve on the board. We want to make sure that new board members are actively involved.

    Q: In the months, now year(s), following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, how has the Partnership operating vision been re-focused, re-calibrated during a “new normal” phase where priorities have inevitably been shifting? 

    A: We had to adapt to the consequences of the pandemic fairly quickly. We have been hosting either standalone or joint virtual events with likeminded organizations almost every month. We held 23 virtual panels and programs since March or April 2020. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the amazing people who volunteered to make these events possible. Attendance at the joint virtual events appears to be higher than in-person meetings. The convenience of not traveling for over an hour and not having to take time off work are definitely plusses.

    Q: Can you discuss the magnitude of how this industry has evolved—maybe a seismic shift—to where a die-in-the-wool organization like the Partnership is now led by an all-female board of directors? 

    A: Great question. Let me begin by saying having an all-female executive board was not a coincidence. All four of us have served on different committees of the NYCBP for a very long time. Each of us brought something valuable to the table. I think the first time I was involved with the scholarship committee was in 2012 or 2013, and I was appointed to the board in 2018. To put it another way, the all-female executive board did not emerge out of thin air. As I mentioned before, with the revised by-laws, the NYCBP is now more accessible. We recently started a new virtual event series: Women in AEEC (Architecture, Environment, Engineering, and Construction) Professions. Originally, the event was planned around women in environmental professions when we kicked it off last month in honor of International Women’s Day. Little did we know that this would turn into an inaugural event. The 90-minute session was so motivating that all attendees asked for it to be a quarterly event! I’m beyond pleased to see more and more women in our industry needless to say. 

    Q: Following up on the repercussions of COVID-19, can you talk about how things might change in the context of NYCBP-sponsored events and workshops?

    A: I’m happy to announce we will be hosting an in-person BABAs this year. It will be a different concept than the previous years but we would like to acknowledge the recipients and their successful projects as well as provide an opportunity to some of our sponsors to have face time with their clients. Unfortunately, the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic is not helping to plan events ahead of time. Hence, the different concept at a different borough for the first time ever! I won’t reveal more about it but an announcement will be made soon. 

    Q: When you think about the Big Apple Awards and the Duncan scholarship, what would you do to strengthen both of these initiatives to power them up from an equity standpoint?   

    A: There is an amazing group of volunteers behind both programs who make these programs look effortless. Big Apple Brownfield Awards have always been a success. We almost always receive over fifteen applications. We changed things up a little bit this year with a few new categories. We recently had our committee meeting to vote on this year’s applications and the quality of the projects applying for the award has significantly increased. I find it very rewarding to see all these brownfield sites being remediated and creation of job opportunities, and to address community needs. I have no doubt that the BABAs will only continue to thrive in the upcoming years. 

    Q: How easy, or hard, has it been to get applicants for the scholarship program?

    A: It has always been a challenge. There is an ongoing trend when students start their applications on the day they hear about the program but then only a handful of them actually end up finalizing the applications. We have an inside joke to call their parents and ask, why would you not want free money! Although we had a breakthrough last year when we received 21 final applications. The application process is short and painless. With our online presence through the virtual events and fundraisers, we most definitely strengthened the scholarship program.

    Q: As founder and Principal of vEKtor Consultants, how much does your professional career bleed into what happens with the Partnership from an operational standpoint? 

    A: Short answer is a lot. At vEKtor, we focus on brownfield redevelopment projects across the NY metropolitan area. Having firsthand experience on these projects and working closely with developers and lenders on a daily basis helps me to advocate on their behalf. 2022 has been an extremely busy year in the brownfield industry. The Brownfield Cleanup Program was scheduled to sunset in December 2022. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation issued a Notice of Rulemaking to amend the current Part 375 regulations. We also have a new Governor with a new State budget. The NYCBP has been working tirelessly to address all these almost concurrently progressing proposals. 

    Q: Can you discuss areas such as funding New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate and joining the statewide BCP extension coalition led by the New York League of Conservation Voters?

    A: Funding [New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate] was done to update their original 2014 study, which was first updated in 2015 analyzing the impact of the NYSBCP on the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites in New York State. Joining a statewide BCP extension coalition led by the New York League of Conservation Voters ensures that the BCP and Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program are extended and strengthened. 

    Now that the Governor’s State budget has been finalized, we are pleased to see the 10-year extension of the BCP, meaning the NYSDEC will continue to accept applications through December 31, 2032. However, we are disappointed with the addition of a $50,000 non-refundable application fee, which will be payable upon receipt of acceptance into the Program. From a practitioner standpoint, I’m concerned this high fee will discourage small developers, non-for-profit and MWBE groups from participating in the program, thus resulting in less cleanup and redevelopment throughout NYS. 

    Q: Can you discuss details about NYCBP establishing a committee to review and comment on the NYSDEC’s proposed Part 375 revisions?

    A: We have been meeting on a bi-weekly basis and focusing on top 10 big revisions that would affect implementation of the Program. I should also mention, the recently established small business committee consisting of private consultants and engineers, specifically focusing on one proposed revision [§375-1.6(c)(4)(ii-iii) – Final Engineering Report]. We are very concerned that requiring the field staff to work for the same as the certifying professional engineers would adversely impact many firms in NYS. Small environmental consulting firms have successfully completed thousands of New York State and New York City-regulated Brownfield cleanup projects under the current regulations by collaborating with engineering firms or sole practitioner professional engineers. The proposed revisions adversely impact consulting engineers, geologists, qualified environmental professionals (QEPs) who have been effectively conducting environmental investigation and remediation projects for decades throughout New York State.

    Posted May 2, 2022

  • 2 May 2022 2:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following is an an article written by Kevin McCarty and shared on GEI's website. Kevin is a Board member of the NYC Brownfield Partnership and runs the NYC clean soil program with the Mayor’s office.

    It is virtually impossible to build a structure, a building, or almost any type of fixed facility, without excavating ground and removing soil and fill material.  Many projects require significant excavation for foundations, support structures, utilities, and ground improvements. It is also very common for the construction site to not have room to stage, store, or reuse material right away.  This almost always necessitates off-site removal of all, or most of, the excavated material.  If you have ever had a project that required moving a lot of dirt you know that, in many cases, the contractors you hire don’t put a lot of thought into how to handle it, they simply truck it out.  But you will pay for that removal, which often includes tipping fees on the tonnage as well as high transportation costs when soil is moved out of State.  Is there a way that soil can be reused? The answer is yes, and it could save hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars while, at the same time, improve sustainability. It just takes a little forethought and planning to make it happen. Let’s explore how.

    In many areas, the regulations on moving dirt from a project site were written decades ago and have not been updated to account for the increased focus on sustainability and beneficial use.  But those values have been filtering in. And as we strive for increased sustainability, the issue of beneficial reuse is gradually coming to the forefront.

    Let’s consider a typical project. You have a design and your project specs have been determined. Unless directed otherwise, the contractor typically bids the job to include trucking away the excess dirt. At this point an engineer may take notice that if you test the soil, you might find it could be reused on another project. But the contractor isn’t invested in beneficial reuse because it wasn’t accounted for in the original job specs.

    When beneficial soil reuse is built into the design, and the project specs are written accordingly, the owner gains the savings and the sustainability

    In some cases, a consultant might be brought in to test the soil. But, too often, because this consultant was engaged after the design process, he or she will have little to no connection to the project. If the consultant doesn’t account for the parameters of the project (such as how deep will the excavation be?) the result is a generic report.

    When this happens, you’re left without accurate data on the nature of the material to be excavated. Without that data, the engineer must guess at the quantities. And, if these estimated quantities are wrong, the contractor ends up issuing a change order. Enter the “dirt brokers.” In the states of New York and New Jersey, an entire organization of dirt brokers has popped up over the past 10-15 years. They parse out the dirt and are experts at controlling the flow of material to different locations and facilities, which makes justification for change orders much more effective.  The cost and liability are then passed on to the owner.

    So, what’s the solution to this wasteful, often convoluted process? We need to change how we think about the planning phase of the design process. When beneficial reuse is built into the design, and the project specs are written accordingly, the owner gains the savings and the sustainability.

    Step 1: At the beginning of the design process, the environmental consultant, who will typically come in to assess the in-ground conditions that will inform the specifications and design, sits down with the landscape architect to gather the details. The environmental consultant will ask: What are you building? What will be excavated? Can any of this be retained for reuse on the project or is there no room for staging? How deep is the excavation? Once the consultant knows these details, or at least what the current version of the plan is, it’s easier for them to get some samples to determine what the fill layers are, where the natural material is, and then compare this to the existing criteria. The result? No wasted time on testing that doesn’t provide useful data. The consultant, now with inside knowledge of the project, can provide recommendations, including details on where fill begins and ends, as well as potential hazards.  This information is very powerful and puts the owner in control of the process, rather than leaving it for the contractor during construction.

    Step 2: Provide this accurate information to the engineer writing your project specs. Now you have precise data early, and the engineers can use this data rather than relying on guesswork. The result is that now the engineer can decide if the materials can be beneficially reused or if they need to be properly disposed of at facilities. You gain the advantage of the beneficial reuse simply by writing it into the specs, because that’s how the contractor bids it – no change orders necessary, and no environment harmed.

    It’s a simple change to the process of thinking, really, with benefits all around. A process through which owners can save money and their sustainability teams can quantify the carbon savings is a win-win. When you account for the life of a construction project, these changes can save millions of pounds of carbon in just 4-6 months. And the cumulative sustainable carbon footprint reduction is astronomical when looking at dirt. The bottom line is this: When the owner has the specs written correctly, everyone wins.

  • 5 Apr 2022 1:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Lina Rivetti, NJDEP Part-Time Employee

    How did you spend your afternoon on Tuesday, March 29, 2022? Were you one of over 60 women environmental professionals and a handful of male allies who joined us virtually for the inaugural “Women in Environmental Professions” Event put on collaboratively by the NYC Brownfield Partnership (NYCBP), the NJ Chapter of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals (NJSWEP), the NJ Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association (LSRPA), and the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE)? Eighty-eight percent of attendees were members of at least one of the sponsoring organizations, and members of the audience joined us enthusiastically for an interactive and uplifting session. 

    This program was a success because of its moderator and wonderful speakers. Lina Rivetti, a student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and recipient of an NJSWEP scholarship was masterful as a moderator. Superstar panelists Schenine Mitchell of USEPA Region 2; Ezgi Karayel, owner of vEKtor Consultants and President of the NYCBP; Candace Baker of Langan Engineers and VP of the LSRPA; and Linda Shaw, Esq., owner of Knauf Shaw and President of the Environmental Section of the NYS Bar discussed inherent qualities of all strong leaders, self-advocacy as women in the workforce, shifting career trajectories, obtaining a work-life balance, differences between the public and private sector, the importance of mentorship and marketing, as well as inspirational advice for current and future women aspiring to achieve more prominent roles in the environmental industry.

    A few quotes from the speakers that really resonated with the audience include:

    • “You are more valuable than you think;”
    • “When it is meant to be yours, it will be yours,“ along with “ask for what you want” and “show up, but also speak up;” and
    • “Powerful women empower women!”

    We weren’t aware that this would be the “inaugural event” until it was clear that the 90-minute session was so energizing and informative that all attendees asked for it to be a quarterly event! High praise. Some of the topics we look to explore further while keeping up the conversation in upcoming virtual gatherings are:

    1. How to handle inappropriate behavior or harassment on job sites. 
    2. What can we do as a group to specifically encourage and recruit more girls/women of color to join environmental professions?
    3. How to effectively and respectfully set boundaries

    For the 88% of attendees who are members of at least one of the sponsoring organizations, look for eblasts and web posting for the date, time, and registration information for the next session. Please encourage others to join the conversation.

    Many thanks to event sponsors Athenica Environmental Services; vEKtor Consultants; Knauf Shaw; HydroTech Environmental; Liberty Environmental, Inc; and Gallagher Bassett Technical Services. They were joined by the highest level sponsors of both the NYCBP and BCONE

  • 31 Mar 2022 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, the Environmental Protection Agency published its final Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-2026 EPA Strategic Plan to accompany EPA's FY 2023 President’s Budget. The Strategic Plan provides a roadmap to achieve EPA’s and the Biden-Harris Administration’s environmental priorities over the next four years.

    This Strategic Plan furthers the agency's commitment to protecting human health and the environment for all people, with an emphasis on historically overburdened and underserved communities. For the first time, EPA’s final Plan includes a strategic goal focused exclusively on addressing climate change, as well as an unprecedented strategic goal to advance environmental justice and civil rights. At the foundation of the Plan is a renewed commitment to the three principles articulated by EPA’s first Administrator, William Ruckelshaus — follow the science, follow the law, and be transparent – while adding an additional fourth principle: advance justice and equity.

    “This final strategic plan is the result of tireless work across EPA to develop a comprehensive strategy that delivers on our mission to protect all people from pollution,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I’m confident that our plan meets the moment. Our solutions are designed to confront the challenges in front of us, where achieving justice and equity are central to addressing climate change and environmental protection.” 

    The Strategic Plan outlines seven goals and four cross-agency strategies. The strategies articulate essential ways of working to accomplish EPA’s goals and mission outcomes. The Plan also includes a suite of measures that will help the Agency monitor progress and ensure accountability for achieving its priorities to protect human health and the environment for all Americans.

    More information on EPA’s Strategic Plans can be found at: Strategic Plan

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