In this section, information needed to provide a picture of the brownfields in an area will be explained. An excerpt from a University of Michigan report of brownfield redevelopment in Flint, Michigan helps to paint the picture of beginning research.
“Since no organization or agency tracks all brownfield parcels, compiling an inventory depends on piecing together information from a variety of local, state, and federal sources. Each data source provides one piece of the larger puzzle…[the research] is only as good as the sum of its sources. Although the sources listed below give a good overview of brownfield parcels, the information they provide is incomplete.”
Given that the research done will only be “as good as the sum of its sources” it is critical that no stone be left unturned when researching brownfields. To produce the most complete results possible, both official and unofficial sources of information should be pursued. Some information may seem benign or even irrelevant, but when coupled with additional data could provide additional clues to brownfield sites (For additional information on sourcing a brownfields investigation, see “.Some Practical Methods for Identifying Brownfields” By Sarah Coffin Environmental Practice 5 (1) March 2003).