TASC works with community in Staten Island, New York, to address environmental health concerns
The North Shore of Staten Island is a former industrial area with many abandoned and contaminated waterfront properties. Local communities are working to restore the area. As part of the Environmental Justice Showcase Community Initiative, EPA is supporting the North Shore Community Coalition for Environmental Justice. The coalition’s mission is to bring organizations, businesses and citizens together to address community environmental health concerns.
In fall 2011, TASC created a website so that the coalition can share information with local communities. TASC is currently working with EPA Region 2 and the coalition to compile and interpret health data for the community. This information will serve as the basis for a local environmental health profile. Educational materials based on the profile will enhance the community’s understanding of local environmental health issues. In turn, the community will be better able to prioritize its concerns and assist EPA with the project’s environmental health strategy.
Pilot project in Denver, Colorado, brings together community and watershed organizations in underserved areas to work on water-related issues
As part of the Urban Waters Movement, EPA is helping communities restore their urban waters and surrounding land. Community groups nationwide have taken the initiative. They are engaging volunteers, community organizations and government agencies to make their waters safe for many uses. The Denver Urban Waters Green Jobs Pilot project brings together community and watershed organizations in underserved areas of Denver to work on water-related issues. Working with local urban youth, TASC support is building the leadership capacity of a youth environmental corps, the River Rangers, to become stewards of their local watershed.
TASC trained the Rangers to take water quality samples as well as provided training in hydrology and resource planning. TASC developed an interactive Internet mapping tool that allows the Rangers to post sampling results, photos and comments from their sampling missions and view water quality results in a map format. TASC also worked to build partnerships with local organizations such as the Greenway Foundation to train and mentor the Rangers and find internships and jobs in environmental fields. TASC and the Greenway Foundation are also coordinating with other partners such as Earth Force and Colorado River Watch to ensure sustained support for the Rangers and other community initiatives over the long term. The project will serve as a model for water-related efforts in urban communities nationwide.
Document review enhances community capacities in Western Texas
For more than a century, the Asarco smelter operated in El Paso, Texas. In the 1990s, EPA and the State of Texas filed civil enforcement actions against the RCRA-regulated facility stating it failed to manage hazardous waste properly. The facility had to complete multiple corrective actions to clean up contamination. Community groups, concerned about sampling and facility cleanup, requested TASC’s assistance through EPA Region 6. TASC performed an in-depth review of the site’s Draft Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) and several technical documents. Based on the review, TASC clarified sampling methods and proposed remedies in plain English and suggested that the community groups ask specific questions of EPA, the state, and the custodial trust (representing the facility) to clarify the adequacy of sampling and the proposed corrective actions.