A key step in conducting a Community assessment is to inventory those environmental problems which may pose a serious threat to the community and its surrounding natural systems. Be sure to include a full range of problem areas which may exist now or perhaps can be anticipated in the future. Here is a list of potential problem areas which you may consider to get you started.
- RCRA Sites
The program operated under the legislative authority of CERCLA and SARA that funds and carries out the EPA solid waste emergency and long-term removal remedial activities. These activities include establishing the National Priorities List, investigating sites for inclusion on the list, determining their priority level on the list, and conducting and/or supervising the ultimately determined cleanup and other remedial actions.
- NPL Sites
EPA's list of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified for possible long-term remedial action under superfund. A site must be on the NPL to receive money from the Trust Fund for remedial action. The list is based primarily on the score a site receives from the Hazard Ranking system. EPA is required to update the NPL at least once a year.
- CERCLA Sites
These sites can contain non-liquid, non-soluble materials ranging from municipal garbage to industrial wastes that can contain complex, and sometimes hazardous, substances. Solid wastes also include sewage sludge, agricultural refuse, demolition wastes, and mining residues. Technically, solid waste also refers to liquids and gases found in containers. In addition, CERCLA sites contain refuse that has not been salvaged or recycled. Due to the highly toxic and hazardous materials present on these sites measures are taken to assure the safety of workers, nearby communities, and the health of the environment. As a rule all activities on CERCLA sites are supervised by trained and certified personel. Further more these sites are governed by the process actions designed to ensure the health and safety of the public and the environment. These actions manage the waste cleanup process by studying site conditions publishing a record of desicion, proposing remedial designs, and continuing to monitor the site.
- Industrial Sites
- Natural Resource Extraction Areas/Sites (Minerals, Timber)
- Contaminated Groundwater/Surface Water Areas
- Stormwater Runoff/Erosion (From Develpment, Farming) and Stormwater Management
Storm water from city streets and adjacent domestic or commercial properties that may carry pollutants of various kinds into the sewer systems and/or receiving waters add erosion.
- Traffic Congestion Areas/Roadways
- Floodplain and Wetland Encroachment Activities
Pollution sources (air, water, land) - from industry, commercial, public facilities - Pollution sources which are diffuse and do not have a single point of origin or are not introduced into a receiving stream from a specific outlet. The pollutants are generally carried off the land by storm water runoff. The commonly used categories for non-point sources are: agriculture, forestry, urban, mining, construction, dams and channels, land disposal, and saltwater intrusion. The presence in water of enough harmful or objectionable material can degrade water quality and ripairian areas.
- Illegal/Unpermitted Disposal Sites/Areas
- Exceptional Value Land and Water
- Prime Farmland Conversion
- Mine Subsidence Areas, Karst Terrain (Sinkholes)
- Non-Attainment Areas for Air Quality (Pollutants)
A non-attainment area is a geographic area which does not meet one or more of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for the criteria pollutants designated in the Clean Air Act. The 1970 amendments to the Clean air Act required EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for certain pollutants known to be hazardous to human health. EPA has identified and set standards to protect human health and welfare for six pollutants; ozone, carbon monoxide, total suspended particulate, sulfur dioxide, lead, and nitrogen oxide. The term "criteria pollutants" derives from the requirement that EPA must describe the characteristics and potential health and welfare effects of these pollutants. It is on the basis of these criteria that standards are set or revised.
- Urban Blight/Dilapidated Structures (Private, Commercial, Industrial)