Brownfields Program

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), brownfields are abandoned, idle, or under-used real properties, where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

Brownfields redevelopment benefits both public agency and the private sector by returning abandoned properties to productive use resulting in job creation or expansion, increased tax revenue, neighborhood revitalization, or creation of open spaces like parks.

During the last decade, the Stockton Redevelopment Agency cleaned up and redeveloped contaminated properties on the Stockton Waterfront. In 2008, the Stockton Redevelopment Agency won the prestigious EPA Phoenix Award for excellence in Brownfields redevelopment for the Stockton Events Center (located on the North Shore of the Stockton Downtown Waterfront) and placing the City of Stockton in the National spot light as a leader in Brownfields redevelopment. 


Initial Brownfields Pilot Project (1996-2000)

In 1996, the Stockton Redevelopment Agency was awarded a $200,000 Brownfields Redevelopment Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This grant  focused on efforts to revitalize properties that the Agency currently owned or plannedBrownfields Aerial Photo on acquiring in Stockton's downtown waterfront. 

This photo and the Brownfield Sites Map show the initial 16 properties identified on or near the shoreline of the Stockton Deep Water Channel. The Environmental Master Plan (EMP) summarizes all of the documents produced during the project and present the results to be more easily understood by developers, lenders and public at large.


Results of this Brownfields Program are twofold.

  • First, redevelopment efforts were accelerated
  • Second, the solid foundation of brownfields information provide building blocks to continue redevelopment of the Channel area.


Supplemental Brownfields Pilot Project (2001-2005)

A supplemental grant was issued to the Agency by the EPA in 2001.  This grant continued work begun in the Pilot Project. The documents developed in the Supplemental Pilot Project and described below can be reviewed at the Economic Development Department.


Primary Accomplishments

  • Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)
  • Phase II Environmental Site Assessment was planned for three properties but could not be carried out due to lack of site access on the privately-owned properties.
  • Risk Management Plan (RMP) for redevelopment of properties in the Waterfront area by providing information to develop contaminated properties for compliance with regulatory agency requirements.
  • Background Groundwater Quality Study of groundwater monitoring wells on North and South shores


Stockton's Brownfields

The Stockton Redevelopment Agency advanced Brownfields redevelopment within the pilot project area using California's Polanco Redevelopment Act. Under the Polanco Act, redevelopment agencies could force responsible parties to pay for investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites or conduct their own cleanups and recover costs. With the dissolution of redevelopment agencies in 2012, however, the availability of the Polanco Act also ceased and limited remediation efforts.


In October 2013, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 440 (AB 440), which provided cities, counties, and some housing authorities a tool similar to the Polanco Redevelopment Act. AB 440 gives cities, counties and housing authorities the authority to:

  • obtain environmental information from property owners
  • compel cleanup on properties found to be blighted by contamination
  • recover the full costs of cleanup, including staff time and attorneys’ fees
  • immunities for any release or releases addressed in an approved cleanup plan. 


Cleanup of Colberg Boat Works Site

The City of Stockton uses AB 440 to address a contaminated shipyard known as the former Colberg Boat Works Site on the Stockton Channel. The operator of this site constructed and serviced vessels from the late 1800s until 1996 resulting in the soil contamination.


In February 2016, the City of Stockton executed an Environmental Oversight Agreement (EOA) to take a lead agency role in resolving the blighted conditions at the Colberg property site. This EOA  may be one of the first agreements of its kind placing the City of Stockton once again in the National spotlight as a leader in Brownfields redevelopment.    


Brownfield Updates

City staff  participate in state-wide committees and conferences to streamline Brownfields redevelopment projects.  

  • Report of Known Environmental Conditions -  Includes information identified during the initial and supplemental pilot projects and other projects in the waterfront area (e.g., Stockton Events Center). Funded with EPA grant and Agency funds.


For further information, please contact the Economic Development Division.


External Links

California DTSC Brownfields webpage

CALED Brownfields & Land Revitalization FAQs

EPA’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization

This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 11/29/2016