EPA Recognizes Bucks County Site for Excellence in Reuse
Celebrates 20 Years of Superfund Redevelopment
PHILADELPHIA (August 2, 2019) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented Heritage Conservancy in Southern Bucks County, Pennsylvania with its Excellence in Site Reuse Award for outstanding work in the reuse of the Croydon TCE Superfund Site. The award is part of EPA’s commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative (SRI), launched in 1999 with the goal of returning formerly contaminated lands to long-term sustainable and productive reuse for communities across the country.
“Today, we get to talk about the incredible opportunities that Superfund sites offer for rejuvenating properties and revitalizing neighborhoods once they are cleaned up,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio.
Before the agency’s Redevelopment Initiative, sites were cleaned up but not necessarily put back into productive use. By considering reuse early in the site cleanup process, the Redevelopment Initiative helps ensure that desired future uses are compatible with site cleanup remedies and removes barriers that could keep areas vacant or underused.
The Croydon TCE Site, located in a 3.5 square mile area within the southernmost portion of Bristol Township, Bucks County, includes residential, commercial, and industrial properties. The Site was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in June 1986 after elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in groundwater. EPA’s cleanup remedy included connecting impacted residents to public water and constructing a groundwater exraction and treatment system to clean up the contamination.
Returning Superfund sites back to productive use has resulted in dramatic changes in communities by improving the quality of life, raising property values, and providing needed services to communities.
Heritage Conservancy acquired 80 acres of the Croydon Site in 2016 and operates a preserve that is one of the last remaining coastal plain forests in Pennsylvania. The preserve provides publicly accessible green space in a developed area of Bucks County and is inhabited by many mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Heritage Conservancy also works closely with the local Little League and the nearby Keystone Elementary School to provide field trips and educational opportunities.
“Green spaces that exist in highly populated areas are some of the most important natural lands that exist today, because they provide connections to nature for people who would not otherwise be able to experience it,” said Heritage Conservancy President Jeffrey Marshall.
Overall, approximately 1,000 Superfund sites are in reuse today--more than half the number of sites on Superfund’s National Priorities List. EPA has data on over 8,600 businesses at 529 of these sites. In fiscal year 2018 alone, these businesses generated $52.4 billion in sales, which is more than four times the amount EPA has spent at these sites. These businesses employed more than 195,000 people who earned a combined income of $13 billion. Over the last 7 years, these businesses generated at least $263 billion in sales.
Superfund redevelopment can also lead to energy independence. Today, 59 Superfund sites are home to alternative energy facilities. As of September 2018, these facilities provided enough energy to power about 95,000 homes. Wind, solar and landfill gas facilities make up about 92 percent of these projects. For example, a 7-megawatt solar farm at the Brick Township Landfill site in New Jersey powers all municipal buildings and community park facilities in the township. A solar array at the Continental Steel site in Kokomo, Indiana, provides enough energy to power 1,000 homes.
Over the last few years, as part of the Superfund Task Force work, EPA developed a nationwide list of Superfund National Priorities List sites with the greatest expected redevelopment potential. The list helps promote a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites while working to successfully return sites to productive use after cleanup is completed.
Today’s commemoration is one in a series of events throughout the next 12 months recognizing Superfund’s achievements in revitalizing communities and protecting human health and the environment.
As part of the commemoration, EPA is releasing SRI’s 20th Anniversary Report https://www.epa.gov/superfund-redevelopment-initiative/epa-celebrates-20-years-superfund-redevelopment.
For more information about EPA’s Superfund Task Force, please visit https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force.
For more information about Superfund redevelopment, please visit the https://www.epa.gov/superfund-redevelopment-initiative.
For more information on regional redevelopment benefits, see the 2018 Redevelopment Beneficial Effects reports for each of our regional offices at https://www.epa.gov/superfund-redevelopment-initiative/redevelopment-economics-superfund-sites#regional.