EPA Region 7 Leading Environmentalism and Forwarding Sustainability (L.E.A.F.S.) Awards
EPA Region 7 established the L.E.A.F.S. award to recognize those who have supported the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative through innovative thinking, sustainable practices and environmental stewardship. Region 7 is a highly rural region with lots of available greenspace. Many opportunities exist to revitalize these sites through creative thinking and environmental awareness. Sites that are successfully reused can benefit communities, developers, site owners, and local governments. These sites can also be redeveloped in a way that enhances the remedial actions taken and supports stewardship of the land. This award was established to recognize any and all of these outstanding efforts.
The L.E.A.F.S. award can be given to a responsible party, developer, site owner, nonprofit, local government or community member who has demonstrated excellence in working cooperatively with Region 7 to ensure the redevelopment of a Superfund site is complimentary with the remedial actions taken. The redevelopment should either enhance the remedial actions and/or utilize creative thinking in implementing sustainable practices to benefit the community.
Evaluation Criteria for L.E.A.F.S. Award
- Enhancement of the selected remedy
- Reduction of EPA's long-term stewardship responsibilities
- Consideration of and effect on the local community
- Implementation of sustainable practices
- Consideration of long-term implementation of the selected remedy
- Innovation in creative thinking
- Demonstration of outstanding environmental stewardship
Site Award Winners
On September 9th, 2019, EPA Region 7 presented its Leading Environmentalism and Forwarding Sustainability (L.E.A.F.S.) Award to the city of North Kansas City and Rio Tinto AuM Company in recognition of responsible reuse through innovative thinking, sustainable practices and environmental stewardship at the Armour Road Superfund site. EPA Region 7 also recognized the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) for their partnership at the site. A medical center and restaurant are now located on the site. The site is a critical part of the larger One North redevelopment, as a road used to access the remaining lots is also located on the site.
On April 19, 2018, EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford recognized two reuse successes within the city of Dubuque, Iowa, with the L.E.A.F.S. award. The city of Dubuque, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, as well as the MidAmerican Energy Company, earned the L.E.A.F.S. award for its revitalization of the Peoples Natural Gas Co. Superfund Site, transforming it into the Jule Operations and Training Center (JOTC). Actions taken at the site include:
- Constructing the building with very limited excavation, while using the foundation of the previous building.
- The grade was raised several feet to increase the distance between subsurface contamination and the building.
- The floor of the entire building is one piece, and includes a vapor barrier to prevent vapor intrusion.
- New subsurface utility lines were specially constructed to prevent contact with contaminants and minimize the necessity for repairs
At John Deere (Dubuque Works), the company installed six inches of soil across the northern portion of the landfill surface; seeded native grasses and wildflowers to stabilize soil; installed a walking trail to promote employees’ mental and physical well-being; and installed pollinator habitats that will increase species diversity.
On September 10, 2014, EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks presented the L.E.A.F.S. award to Walmart and to the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association for the reuse of the Kansas City Structural Steel Site. This former industrial site is now a Walmart Neighborhood Market, bringing new jobs and opportunity to the community. Awards will continue to be granted to sites meeting part or all of the above eligibility and evaluation criteria.
On October 23, 2012, Region 7 issued its first award to stakeholders for their efforts to reuse the Chemical Commodities, Inc. Superfund site, located in the city of Olathe, Kansas. Once a chemical brokerage facility, the site provides a beautified landscape for the surrounding neighborhood and offers the local community an educational opportunity to learn the importance of pollination.