Land Revitalization Summer '07 Newsletter – Most Emergency Removal Sites Returned to Original Use, Study Finds
EPA's Emergency Response and Removal program was established to reduce and eliminate the threats from hazardous substance releases. EPA has conducted or directed several thousand cleanups since the Superfund Emergency Response and Removal program began in 1980. However, little was known about what happened to the sites after EPA and its partners left the property.
To get a better understanding of the current land use at former removal sites, Region 3's Land Revitalization Team has conducted a land use assessment that looked at Superfund Response and Removal activities within Region 3 that were completed from 2001 to 2006.
Results from the study have been published in the report, Assessment of the Current Land at EPA Region 3's Emergency Response & Removal Site. The report can be found at Region 3's land revitalization website) in the near future.
The report provides information on 109 Superfund Response and Removal Sites comprising a total of 766 acres. Of the 109 sites, most removal sites were identified as Non- National Priority List (NPL) sites (93 sites) covering 463 acres. There were 16 removal actions on NPL sites covering a total of 303 acres. The assessment classifies land use at the removal sites under four main categories: continued use, reuse, planned reuse or no current use/vacant. The report further looks at what types of use are occurring on the sites, such as industrial, residential, commercial, etc. The region is comprised of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia (DC). Below outlines some key findings that were discovered as a result of the report.
- The majority of acres that were impacted by contamination were returned to their original use after a Response and Removal action. Of the 463 acres at Non-NPL sites, 64% or 298 acres continued to be used in the same manner as before the contamination.
- Approximately 99 acres or 21% of the Non-NPL sites that were cleaned-up under the Response and Removal program remain vacant. While some of the vacant land requires further assessment and possible additional clean up activity, much of the land has the potential to be returned to productive use. The unused land is identified within the specific State sections of the report.
- The Removal program restored property to all types of land use including recreational, natural, commercial and agricultural. However, most acres were largely restored to either their industrial (100 acres) or residential (110 acres) original uses.
Type of Land Use at Non-NPL Response and Removal Sites
in Region 3 that were completed between 2001 and 2006
- The status of response and removal sites within each State completed between 2001 and 2006 reflected the uniqueness of each State. Some highlights of the land use within each state are:
- Delaware and DC did not have removal activities at NPL sites during the five year time frame.
- Over 55% of the land cleaned up through the removal program in the state of Delaware currently has no identifiable use.
- Removal activity in DC took place largely on public land. All of the land in DC that was involved in a removal activity was restored to its original use.
- Over the past five years, Region 3's Response and Removal program was least active in Maryland with only 13 acres cleaned up under the program. Of the 13 acres, 8 acres were at NPL sites and 5 acres were at Non-NPL sites.
- Region 3's Response and Removal program was most active in Pennsylvania with over 405 acres cleaned-up under the program. Of the 405 acres, over 52% (212 acres) were located at NPL sites and 48% (193 acres) were located at Non-NPL sites. Of the Non-NPL sites, 95 acres (50%) were restored to their original use, 50 acres were being used in a new way (26%), 5 acres (2%) were being planned for redevelopment and 43 acres (22%) remained vacant.
- Approximately 84% of the Non-NPL acres in Virginia were returned to their original industrial and residential uses. The remaining 16% of the acres are currently vacant.
- In West Virginia, the Removal program restored 33 acres to natural conditions and 19 acres to industrial use. Only 16% of land remains vacant.
Article was contributed by
Brownfields and Land Revitalization Office