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Sustainability And Petroleum Brownfields


According to the EPA Sustainability website, sustainability means "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." The concept is being used more and more in connection with environmental management.

The cleanup and reuse of a petroleum site is itself a sustainable environmental practice. Cleaning up and reusing petroleum-contaminated land saves pristine land elsewhere from development and potentially from future contamination. At petroleum brownfield sites, sustainability can mean green remediation Exit EPA Disclaimer to reduce the demand on the environment during cleanup and avoid the potential for collateral environmental damage. The practice of green remediation calls for strategies 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.

Success Stories

An old Montgomery Ward site in Baltimore, Maryland, is a petroleum brownfield project that incorporated several sustainability features, including building preservation and green buildings, into its revitalization. The following two documents contain facts about the Baltimore petroleum site.

Using "Green" Buildings on Brownfields: Using Innovative Architecture to Improve Performance (PDF) (4 pp, 691K, About PDF)
EPA 500-F-03-249.  October 2003.
Features Baltimore, MD, Cape Charles, VA, and Washington, DC pilots.

In Wilmington, Delaware, the reused Hi-Tech Gas Station site is a public demonstration of creative stormwater runoff reduction.

A 2007 Phoenix Award highlighted the innovative and sustainable features of the cleanup and reuse of an old gas station in Eugene, Oregon. These features included the marketing of biofuels and a green roof. See Phoenix Awards (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer (5 pp, 1.1MB, About PDF).

EPA Sustainability Pilots

EPA has undertaken several sustainability pilots that will demonstrate further the benefits of integrating sustainability features into brownfields projects. Several of the pilots will address petroleum-contaminated sites.


To learn more about petroleum brownfields, see:
Basic Information On Petroleum Brownfields
Success Stories And Best Practices

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