Midwest EPA leader outlines steps to address PFAS, brownfield sites

Read the full story from Wisconsin Public Radio.

Underscoring a new push to advance equity and justice, an Environmental Protection Agency leader said Monday the federal regulator is hiring about five full-time employees to work on environmental justice.

Former Illinois Superfund site to be reused for solar energy

Read the full story at Waste Today.

A former hazardous waste landfill in Waukegan, Illinois, is getting a second life as a renewable energy facility after decades of mitigation efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Located 42 miles north of Chicago, the Yeoman Creek Landfill has been on the federal Superfund list since its closure in the late 1960s. Cleanup to address high levels of methane and other toxic gasses is largely complete, though EPA is still monitoring the site.

While a site of this nature can come with several restrictions and regulations, BQ Energy CEO Paul Curran views it as a business opportunity. As reported by WBEZ, the New York-based company will be installing 20,000 solar panels on the Yeoman Creek site—a project that will cost roughly $10 million.

Brownfields 2022

Aug 16-19, 2022, Oklahoma City
For more information and to register

Brownfields 2022 features over 120 panels, roundtables, and topic talks where attendees can learn directly from experts in the field and interact with federal, state, and local decision-makers. In these sessions, speakers will discuss new practices, share success stories, and stimulate new ideas.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included an unprecedented $1.5 billion investment in EPA’s Brownfields program over the next two years. Proposals for these grants are due in November 2022 and guidelines will be released in September 2022. Hear from EPA officials about how you can access these grants and maximize your economic, environmental, and social performance. This funding will transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places, enhance climate resiliency, and more.

Your standard environmental site assessment may still be skipping over PFAS

Read the full story at JD Supra.

With all the attention on PFAS over the past few years, you might assume that your standard Environmental Site Assessment would assess the possibility that the property you’re buying has been impacted by PFAS, the “forever chemicals” that are on their way to being regulated by the Federal Government in parts per trillion (and are already regulated in such minute concentrations in many states).

But, as Inside EPA reports, because PFAS are not yet “hazardous substances” according to Federal law, the current ASTM standard for Environmental Site Assessments doesn’t cover them.

That means you need to make sure your site assessment professional adds PFAS to its scope of work.

Lightfoot slow to act on promises to use old industrial sites to build new, green economy

Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

But the mayor won praise for rejecting a permit to allow a car- and metal-shredding operation on the Southeast Side. ‘This is what environmental justice looks like,’ EPA Administrator Michael Regan said.

In a refinery’s ashes, hope for an end to decades of pollution

Read the full story at e360.

An old industrial site in Philadelphia is being converted into a vast e-commerce distribution center, a trend being seen in other U.S. cities. But the developers of these brownfields must confront a legacy of toxic pollution and neglect of surrounding communities of color.

A natural solution for the Northbrook Park District

Read the full story in Parks & Recreation Magazine.

It is not often that park and recreation agencies bring two multimillion-dollar capital projects to fruition in the same decade, let alone the same year.

The Northbrook Park District, located in Northbrook, Illinois, experienced this perfect storm in 2021 with the construction of Techny Prairie Activity Center, as well as course renovations and a new clubhouse at Heritage Oaks Golf Club.

Through a Comprehensive Master Plan process conducted in 2016, several priorities for investment were identified based on community input, inventory and analysis comparisons to state and national standards, demographics and financial capabilities. This process launched an initiative called New Places to Play.

Both projects were designed using sustainable practices, upholding the park district’s overall mission to enhance the community by providing outstanding services, parks and facilities through environmental, social and financial stewardship.

She reclaims toxic waste dumps, and she just won a major landscape architecture award

Read the full story from NPR.

Landscape architecture has never quite gotten the adulation of capital-A architecture, but perhaps a new prize can help change that — especially since it’s being given to an innovative designer who’s been respectfully referred to as “the toxic beauty queen of brownfield remediation.”

The inaugural winner of the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize is Julie Bargmann, a professor at the University of Virginia and founder of a studio called D.I.R.T – Dump It Right There. The award, announced today by the Cultural Landscape Foundation, is intended to confer the status of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, as well as a similar purse — $100,000 for the winner.

Once a notorious Superfund, South Jersey landfill property soon will power hundreds of homes with solar

Read the full story from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 60-acre GEMS landfill in Gloucester Township, laden with industrial waste, asbestos, solvents and heavy metals, will become the site of a new 4.5 megawatt solar array.

West Virginia startup turns coal mines into lavender farms and wellness products

Read the full post at Treehugger.

Former strip mines aren’t the first place you think of when it comes to sustainable agriculture, beekeeping, or the wellness industry. But a project in southwestern West Virginia is looking to change that. Called Appalachian Botanical Company, the company is growing lavender and raising bees on a former mining site, and then turning its harvests into essential oils, body creams, and other value-added products.