Colette Santasieri is director of strategic initiatives in the department of research and development at NJIT.
NJIT environmental experts will offer better ways to manage brownfields projects and the availability of professional help at NJIT at an upcoming national brownfields conference on May 15-17, 2013 in Atlanta.Urban planner and engineer Colette Santasieri, PhD, director of strategic initiatives in the department of research and development at NJIT, and her assistant, Elizabeth Limbrick, an environmental specialist, will detail the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) program at NJIT. Through NJIT as a regional provider, TAB services are available for government departments, counties, municipalities, tribal nations, and nonprofit organizations in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions stretching from Maine to West Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.
“We offer all clients, no matter the location, the opportunity to think things through with professionals,” Santasieri said. “We sit down and in an easy-to-understand manner, we walk them through the brownfield process, which for first-timers can be daunting. I can’t tell you how often clients say how helpful we have been.”
The no-fee program offers assistance and guidance to communities that are interested in assessing, cleaning up and redeveloping brownfield sites. Among the long list of satisfied clients NJIT has served since 2008: New York City Department of Parks, Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and more. In New Jersey, the list includes the Department of Environmental Protection, Hudson County Economic Development Corporation, Camden Redevelopment Agency, Brick City Development Corporation, Asbury Park, Bloomfield, Elizabeth and more. Some services were targeted to a specific site, while others were either multi-site or non-site specific, Santasieri said.
At the conference, while Santasieri outlines the big picture, Limbrick will focus on the redevelopment of mills and industrial plants. She’ll detail how to better balance the built and natural environment during the redevelopment of brownfield sites – particularly waterfront mills and plants. Special attention will be paid to managing the environmental impacts and enhancing natural assets at mill and plant redevelopment sites. Natural resources such as wetlands and floodplains and sustainable development reuse options that embrace natural setting such as waterfront parks and hydroelectric power will be considered.
“Brownfields projects can be very demanding,” Santasieri noted. Almost everyone needs help with technical issues. And that’s where we come in.” Among the most common difficulties clients face: deciphering technical reports filled with jargon; realizing health impacts and risks; financing projects; understanding science or environmental policy; learning how best to involve the community; and working with local, state or federal governments.
Santasieri has 29 years of public and private sector environmental and civil engineering experience. Before joining NJIT, she held positions that included chief engineer at the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and environmental department manager at Frederic R. Harris Consulting Engineers. She has served as principal investigator and project manager for more than research and planning projects involving transportation, compliance; environmental permitting and approval; brownfields; port security and more. She received a doctorate in urban systems from NJIT; a master’s degree in civil engineering from NJIT; and a bachelor’s degree in environmental planning and design from Rutgers University.
Limbrick has 18 years of experience in the development and oversight of environmental remediation and brownfield redevelopment projects. As the project manager in Santasieri’s group, she is the backbone of the program which provides technical assistance to brownfield communities. Her responsibilities include extensive one-on-one technical mentoring to local communities about brownfield assessments, remediation and redevelopment. She also develops and presents brownfields workshops and seminars, explains technical scientific reports; details health impacts and risks, interprets environmental laws, regulations and policies and more. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Susquehanna University.
For more information about TAB program at NJIT, please visit http://www.njit.edu/tab/.