Olathe, Kan. — Dave Koch, national brownfields manager with Terracon was honored recently with the National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals’ (NALGEP) Lifetime Achievement Award. He was presented with this award during the national Brownfields 2015 conference in Chicago on September 4.
The NALGEP association represents local government professionals responsible for environmental compliance and the development and implementation of local environmental policy. Partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), SmartGrowth America and the National Brownfields Association, the association participates in the biennial brownfields conference, among other programs.
Koch has worked extensively in multiple federal and state environmental regulatory programs for 38 years. He was as an early pioneer on behalf of clients beginning in the 1990s. He is Terracon’s senior brownfields consultant, qualified as an expert in all brownfields areas including EPA grant writing/management, eligibility, outreach, inventory, assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment.
Terracon has built a nationwide team of brownfields experts that directly supports local brownfields practitioners and their projects in more than 150 offices nationwide. Koch explains, “We have helped clients win competitive grant funding and implement more than 184 EPA cooperative agreement-funded projects. This is more than $48 million in fees subject to EPA audit with zero in ineligible expense. This equates to over $2 billion nationally in as-built brownfields revitalizations associated with our U.S. EPA grant work. This doesn’t touch the literally thousands of non-government private clients and redevelopment projects we have helped become usable, environmentally sustainable, and positive community assets where there was once blight.”
Koch continues, “Brownfields came about in response to America’s fear to turn dirt on otherwise good properties in the shadow of environmental liability. The EPA began its counter-acting brownfields program in 1995 to provide grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes, and other stakeholders. The EPA provides resources to all sizes of communities needed to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields areas.”
Brownfield properties are defined as real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated there are more than 450,000 brownfields areas in the U.S.
During Brownfields 2015, Phoenix Awards were announced in recognition of the innovative leadership of communities working to solve their critical environmental problems of transforming abandoned property into productive sites. To date, Terracon has been honored to be an active part of 13 regional and national Phoenix Award client teams.
“It has been called the Oscar Awards of brownfields,” Koch explains. “Earning a Phoenix Award is a great honor for Terracon and our clients. We don’t go seeking awards. We seek simply to do good work within communities where we live and work. Recognition follows. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients’ goals and then helping them in reinventing and reinvigorating properties that seemed all but doomed to blight in the community. When some of these client projects earn a Phoenix Award, it is icing on the cake. To be able to participate is a blessing.”
Coralville, Iowa, population 20,000, despite its size, was both a regional and national 2007 Phoenix Award recipient. Coralville was identified by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2010 as one of six cities with 17 years of continuous success in its Brownfields Redevelopment: Reclaiming Land, Revitalizing Communities – A Compendium of Best Practices. Of the six cities mentioned, four of them were Terracon brownfields clients.
Dan Holderness, city engineer and brownfields program director for The City of Coralville, says, “we would definitely not be where we are today in the redevelopment of the $525 million Iowa River Landing without Dave’s guidance and assistance in the approaches we have taken to address environmental conditions.”