A Superfund, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), is a name given to an environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste. It allows the EPA to clean up these sites and to compel the responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government.
A Brownfield is a contaminated site being redeveloped, usually with lower concentrations of contaminants. It is possibly being done by a person that is not potentially liable for cleaning up the site.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a website that will allow you to look up both Superfund sites and Brownfield sites.
There is so much information on the EPA website. I looked up a site on Bridge St in Nashua, NH which is in process of being cleaned up for reuse. It shows the status of the clean-up effort, the contaminants, and there’s even a link to the neighborhood demographic information.
In short…they are both contaminated sites, and have been identified as such by the government, but the process to try and have them be productive is different. Superfund sites are typically worse and the EPA is actively involved in the cleanup effort. Brownfield sites are typically abandoned sites that are being cleaned up by private entities looking to redevelop them. http://www.epa.gov/oerrpage/superfund/programs/recycle/faqs/index.html
Check out my blog post on negative environmental influences in real estate: http://jennifercote.info/negative-environmental-influences-in-real-estate/
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