REMEDIATION & BROWNFIELDS
Cleaning Up Contaminated Sites
Remediation technologies are essential to environmental protection, but they can also be problematic. In some cases, cleaning up a contaminated site results in transferring the contamination elsewhere, rather than rendering the contaminated material safe to be recycled back into the environment or the marketplace.
Case-In-Point - Sept. 29, 1998 AP story Popular Trees May Offer Cheaper Pollution Solution..."Laboratory-designed hybrids of the fast-growing poplar tree have been found to act like 100-foot straws that suck contamination from soil and groundwater...In a process know as phytoremediation, the tree either safely stores the chemicals in its tissues or metabolizes them into apparently less volatile compounds. Then the tree releases these byproduct through its leaves as vapor into the atmosphere...Still, unknown, however, is whether the chemical byproducts generated by the poplars really are less harmful, or if diluting them in the atmosphere only creates another hazard." "We may soon be using trees to heal the hurt inflicted on the Easrth," said David E. Salt, an environmental chemist at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. "But would we simply be exchanging soil pollution for air pollution?""
What are "brownfields"? Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or underused industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Brownfields can be located in urban, suburban, and rural areas. (Source-EPA)
Brownfields initiatives can also be very controversial. There is widespread concern among environmentalists that economic priorities have overwhelmed environmental and public health concerns. Environmentalists claim that too often remediation technology and standards do not make the officially 'remediated' properties safe for use. SEE - Apr 13, 1999: Rules let contaminants be covered, not cleaned, Philadelphia Inquirer
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