City of Houston Deploys New Brownfield Inventory System

Earlier this month (May 6, 2009), Environmental Data Resources, Inc. (EDR) announced that the City of Houston has deployed a customized EDR brownfield inventory system to make its efforts to remediate and redevelop environmentally contaminated properties more efficient.

Houston’s new environmental research platform streamlines formerly labor intensive tasks relating to site information retrieval and updates. The new system gives the city’s brownfields professionals the ability to access information about a property, including current government records and historical use records such as aerial photographs and Certified Sanborn fire insurance maps from EDR. The system also enables Houston’s brownfields team to research specific properties or screen an area for properties that might meet criteria to be included in the brownfields program.

“The platform that EDR created enables significant improvements in process,” said Houston’s Brownfields Manager, Shannon Teasley. “This tool is essential in our day-to-day operations and helps us make informed business decisions on which properties should and should not be included in our brownfields program. A single piece of information delivered at the right time can mean the difference between a smart brownfield investment and a poor one.”

The EDR system also monitors the environmental risks associated with neighboring sites that may impact a property. Environmental data is mapped and linked to complete detail about each piece of data. The user can select a street-map view, aerial-photo view, or hybrid view that combines the street-map information and visual detail from the aerial photography. Because the system is Web-based, it can be accessed easily from multiple locations and by multiple authorized users and departments. Additionally, project-related documents can be archived within the system.

“Brownfields redevelopment is an important part of the Obama administration’s agenda,” said EDR Managing Director Jon Walker. “Forward-looking cities such as Houston are redoubling their efforts to identify viable brownfields projects, create opportunities and revitalize neighborhoods.”