Developers, business owners, and employees all play a role in the environmental health of our community. At every level, choices can be made to mitigate environmental hazards, instead of create them, to improve air and water quality, instead of diminish it, and to be a leader in the community for environmental health. Sustainable businesses work to preserve the common wealth of the community and do not pursue profit at the expense of poor work, unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination.
Explore the information below to learn about how you can address environmental health during land development and building construction, in your business, and in your workplace.
Abandoned and contaminated properties provide a unique opportunity for developers to partner with officials to clean-up environmental hazards and transform high-risk areas into community assets. However, preventing contamination in the first place is equally as important. Consider potential risks for contamination before development, develop a plan for preventing contamination, and help keep the community healthy.
City of Tucson Brownfields Program
The City of Tucson Environmental Services Dept. manages a citywide Brownfields Program, which enables successful redevelopment of adversely impacted properties. The Brownfields Program encourages infill through the redevelopment of brownfield sites. Brownfields redevelopment spurs economic benefits, revitalizes surrounding areas, and reduces development pressure on undisturbed desert areas.
Federal Environmental Clean-Up Regulations and Agencies (from U.S. EPA http://www.epa.gov/compliance/cleanup/):
Superfund: EPA's most often used and most powerful cleanup enforcement mechanism is the Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). Superfund is a cleanup authority only and does not otherwise regulate a facility's operations.
RCRA: The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), including the Underground Storage Tank (UST) program, contain both cleanup and regulatory authority. RCRA's cleanup authority is the RCRA Corrective Action program, which addresses cleanup activities at RCRA regulated facilities.
Additional Clean-up Authorities: Several other environmental statutes provide EPA with additional cleanup authorities to address oil spills and events that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health. Additional cleanup authority is contained in the following statutes:
• The Clean Air Act (CAA)
Brownfields and Redevelopment: The cleanup of contaminated property, including brownfields, and the clarification of environmental cleanup liability, are the building blocks to the sustainable reuse of previously-used property. EPA supports appropriate redevelopment of cleaned up waste sites. Cleanup enforcement's role in redevelopment usually addresses liability issues associated with the cleanup of hazardous substances.
EPA's Enforcement portal is an all inclusive page to find information regarding national cleanup enforcement program under CERCLA (Superfund), RCRA (including underground storage tanks), and OPA (oil) and addressing cleanup liability issues to promote redevelopment. It also covers enforcement for the CAA (clean air), CWA (clean water), and SDWA (drinking water), as well as enforcement of non-cleanup matters under all of EPA’s statutes.
EPA’s Federal Facilities Enforcement Office is responsible for overseeing cleanup enforcement at federal facilities utilizing the numerous authorities mentioned above.
National Brownfield Associations
NBA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development and encouraging green building on brownfield sites.
The Brownfields and Land Revitalization Technology Support Center
Since its creation in 1998, the BTSC has provided information to hundreds of stakeholders, direct site support to more than 70 sites, and helped increase awareness and use of innovative technologies and techniques for investigation and remediation of contaminated sites.
Business.gov: Compliance Assistance for DOI programs
This is an official business to the US Government for compliance assistance for Department of Interior Programs.
Indoor air quality is an important aspect of environmental health because it can have a lasting impact on those who occupy homes and buildings. Indoor air quality can be affected in a number of ways by the materials used during building construction, such as paint (may contain lead or volatile organic compounds), insulation (may contain asbestos), pesticides, and poor ventilation systems. Consider indoor air quality during construction and renovations and help keep the environment safe and healthy.
US EPA Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Quality in Large Buildings (EPA)
Indoor Air Quality and Home Remodeling (EPA)
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Indoor Air Quality Publications
Indoor Air Quality Association
The Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) was established in 1995 to promote uniform standards, procedures and protocols in the Indoor Air Quality industry.
Purchasing and Operations
Corporate responsibility is an important contributor to environmental health. If your business produces hazardous waste or otherwise has the potential to release toxins or negatively impact the environment, taking a proactive approach to plan for proper disposal and mitigate environmental hazards is a responsible way to keep our environment healthy.
From this page you can link to information about different pollutants and toxins, laws and regulations, prevention and remediation.
Protect the Environment at Work (EPA)
Preventing pollution at the workplace, and raising awareness of health and safety issues in an office, on a farm, in a school, and other related areas.
Keeping the workplace safe and healthy will benefit your employees and improve productivity. Business owners and property managers can be stewards for the environment and the people who occupy the workplace by mitigating hazards. Educate employees about regulations and proper handling and disposal of toxins and pollutants.
This site contains links to resources put together by OSHA concerning indoor air quality. To see a report on indoor air quality by OSHA check out OSHA's Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings report.
Health and Productivity Gains from Better Indoor Environments and their Relationship with Building Energy Efficiency by William J. Fisk from USGBC website (pdf)
Indoor Plants and Air Quality
Indoor plants can abate rising levels of indoor air pollution at home or at the office. Research from NASA shows that many plants are useful in absorbing harmful gases, which helps clean the air indoors. As a rule of thumb, allow one houseplant per 100 square feet of living area. The more vigorous the plant, the more air it can filter. Keep in mind that plants will not do much to alleviate tobacco smoke or dust in the air.