Turning Brownfields Greener: EPA Releases Superfund Green Remediation Strategy

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In September 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Superfund Green Remediation Strategy. EPA explained that the Strategy is a program management tool designed to describe the current plans of the Superfund Remedial Program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other negative environmental effects that might occur during site assessment and remediation or non-time-critical removal actions. The Strategy was prepared by EPA’s Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI), taking into account public comment.

In support of the Strategy, EPA cited that the process of cleaning up a hazardous waste site uses energy, water, and other natural or materials resources and, consequently, creates an environmental “footprint” of its own. EPA further indicated that much can be done to conserve natural resources, minimize waste generation, and reduce energy consumption, in order to improve environmental performance of Superfund activities while fulfilling its mission to protect human health and the environment. EPA, however, distinguished its Superfund Green Remediation Strategy, which focuses on the environmental footprint of Superfund response actions, from the broader realm of site sustainability, which also includes social and economic aspects.

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