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At some point, you could be in the market to buy or sell a business. What are the pertinent legal concerns a buyer or seller should be aware of? How does purchasing a piece of land in a brownfield zone complicate the matter? Is help available and what types of properties qualify as a brownfield zone?

According to information on the Tennessee.gov website, a brownfield is a property that could be contaminated in some way by the presence of a hazardous substance, chemical or pollutant. The state’s Department of Environment & Conservation offers help to qualified parties who wish to develop that piece of property. The Voluntary Cleanup Oversight and Assistance Program helps certain entities develop or redevelop a tainted piece of property. The website provides information on contamination sources, grant assistance, conferences and contact information for government officials.

Many areas qualify as a brownfield zone, including but not limited to former methamphetamine sites. According to tn.gov, the EPA offers, on a yearly basis, grants to assess and recover brownfields. Grant guidelines are published about 60 days before the submission deadline for each grant. Eligibility for the grants are limited to some degree to governmental agencies, but non-profit organizations and redevelopment agencies are eligible. Entities applying for cleanup grants must own the property in question. Another category of grants, an assessment grant, is open to those who own the property or an entity that holds site access. Specific requirements and procedures apply to all grant requests. A letter from the state environmental authority must accompany any grant request, as well as information such as type of grant requested and amount of funding.