Have you ever seen abandoned factories and old storage tanks downtown? Like the ones near the Kaw and Missouri Rivers in Kansas City? Are there closed gas stations or old dumps in your neighborhood? They can be a real eyesore. They can also be a source of pollution and a risk to your health. And no one wants to deal with them, that's why they just sit there, creating blighted neighborhoods and threatening the health of our watershed. But sometimes the land can be cleaned up enough to make it safe to build shopping centers or business parks, or at least paved over as parking lots or used for wildlife habitat.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has programs that help cities and states clean up these old blighted areas and make them into something more useful and healthy.
EPA Treatment sites are places where past activities have left toxic chemicals that require remediation to make them safe places for people to begin using again. After remediation some sites are still unsafe for building homes, and future use may be limited to specific activities that restrict physical contact with the soil, such as paving over an area to create a parking lot. EPA Treatment Sites include areas known to be contaminated (usually groundwater), areas undergoing remediation, and permitted hazardous waste treatment facilities. Some of them are included in the Superfund clean-up program.
There are several different programs that address different types of clean-up problems:
• Brownfield sites are real properties, the expansion, development, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
• Federal Facility sites are properties operated by the United States Government that contain environmental contamination from unexploded ordnance, radioactive waste, or other hazardous substances.
• Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Sites are places where the past and present activities at have sometimes resulted in releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents into soil, ground water, surface water, sediments, and air; requiring the investigation and cleanup, or remediation, of these hazardous releases.
• Superfund sites are uncontrolled or abandoned sites or properties where hazardous waste or other contamination is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people. Superfund sites can include properties on the National Priorities List, as well as removal action sites.
• Underground storage tank sites are sites that contain contamination from petroleum products or CERCLA hazardous substances that were released from underground storage tanks.
• State sites are contaminated sites not addressed by U.S EPA through its regulatory authorities under CERLA and RCRA, but are instead managed by States rather than by EPA or through EPA programs.
River Atlas >