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Climate Change Contacts

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Climate Change in the Pacific Southwest
— Green Site Cleanups

EPA Region 9 is focusing on cleanup programs that use natural resources and energy efficiently, reduce negative impacts on the environment, minimize or eliminate pollution at its source, and reduce waste to the greatest extent possible.  The practice of “green remediation” uses these strategies to consider all environmental effects of remedy implementation for contaminated sites and incorporates options to maximize the net environmental benefit of cleanup actions. EPA's Green Remediation program provides information about innovative treatment and site characterization technologies.

Life Cycle Assessment of Alternative Remedies

In order to choose the most environmentally beneficial clean up remedy, project managers need tools and metrics to measure benefits consistently and make comparisons. Region 9’s Waste Management Division is developing such a methodology using life cycle assessment principles. The methodology will guide facilities in estimating the environmental footprint of alternative cleanup remedies in order to make better informed cleanup decisions.

Region 9 has completed one pilot study using the methodology at Romic East Palo Alto, California. Region 9 is conducting additional pilots to validate and enhance the methodology.  The results allow project managers to:

  1. identify the environmental resources used for each proposed alternative
  2. identify specific activities that may be "driving" the environmental impacts
  3. focus on specific aspects of any particular remedy to reduce the environmental footprint, and
  4. consider the environmental impact of the alternatives in the selection process. 

The methodology includes estimation of resources used during the alternative remedies (such as construction materials, energy, and water), emissions to air, and wastes generated.

Most "green remediation" efforts currently underway at USEPA attempt to reduce the environmental footprint of an existing remedy or the preferred selected remedy.  The Region 9 Waste Management Division methodology estimates environmental footprints prior to remedy selection, helps the project manager make a better informed decision, and limits the need for post-selection or construction modification to enhance resource efficiency.

Cleanup Clean Air

clean up clean air

The goal of Cleanup Clean Air is to encourage, facilitate, and support diesel emissions and greenhouse gas reductions technologies and practices at Superfund cleanup and redevelopment sites. A particular focus of this effort is encouraging use of Clean Diesel Technologies & Alternative Fuels and Renewable Energy Technologies.

The Smart Energy Resources Guide (PDF) (200 pp, 4.9M) provides cleanup and redevelopment project managers with the tools and information they will need to make informed decisions about selecting cleaner diesel construction equipment, including retrofit technologies, repowers, and cleaner fuels, and about selecting alternative energy sources to help augment energy needs for long-term site cleanup operations. Implementation of green remediation practices on Superfund sites can offer carbon footprint-reduction opportunities as well as cost-saving benefits. See EPA's Green Remediation: Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Remediation of Contaminated Sites (PDF) (56 pp, 814K).

Green remediation practices are already in place at a number of Superfund sites in EPA Region 9:

  • Apache Powder employs solar energy to recirculate shallow ground water through a hydraulically driven constructed wetland system (Benson, Arizona).
  • Frontier Fertilizer Superfund Site uses solar energy to produce an estimated 8,500-9,000 kWh of electricity each year for the water treatment system (Davis, California).
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) saves $50,000/year and 330,000 pounds/year of greenhouse gas emissions due to pumping configuration and optimization (Pasadena, California).
  • Operating Industries, Inc. Landfill converts landfill gas (LFG) to electric power to meet approximately 70% of onsite needs (Monterey Park, California).
  • Pemaco Superfund Site uses onsite solar power to generate over 5,900 kWh of electricity saving 3.3 tons of CO2 each year (Maywood, California).

Contact Harold Ball

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