POLLUTION LOCATOR|Land Contamination|Report Descriptions

Land Contamination Report Descriptions

Scorecard currently profiles risks to public health and the environment from only two potential sources of land contamination in the U.S.: toxic waste sites identified as federal Superfund sites, and manufacturing facilities reporting land and underground releases of chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory.

Data Source: Scorecard's profiles of Superfund sites are derived from multiple sources dating from 1993 to 2000. Primary sources include: NPL Fact Sheets maintained by EPA regions, and four EPA databases: the Superfund National Assessment Program (SNAP), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) database in Envirofacts; the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) database; and the Remedial Program Managers (RPM) database. For profiles of TRI manufacturing facilities, Scorecard utilizes data from the most recent U.S. EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).

Note: Scorecard's profiles of Superfund sites include only proposed and final sites on the National Priorities List. Numerous other sources of land contamination, such as state superfund sites, brownfields, nonhazardous waste disposal facilities, and other land contamination sources are not currently profiled because they are not tracked in national datasets. Scorecard reports on TRI manufacturing plants cover only those required to report for the 1997 TRI, and only 650 listed TRI chemicals.

Scorecard maps the locations of Superfund sites and TRI manufacturing facilities with land and underground releases of toxic chemicals. Select a view of either land contamination source, and zoom in or out from the national-level to the site-level. The mapper shades counties from cleanest to dirtiest. Bar charts illustrate trends in chemical releases over time, or numbers of Superfund sites contaminating sources of drinking water.

Scorecard offers several ranking options for characterizing land contamination at a particular site or for any community in the U.S. You can rank Superfund sites by EPA Hazard Ranking Scores to see whether contaminants are likely to migrate via ground water, surface water, air, or soil. Rank TRI manufacturing facilities to compare the amounts of chemicals released. See how your community compares to others by ranking states or counties by number of Superfund sites, or by the quantity of TRI chemical land releases or underground injections. Thermometers at the state and county level can tell you at a glance whether your community ranks at the clean or dirty end of the spectrum for sources of land contamination.

Environmental Justice Analysis
Inequities in environmental burden can be examined by identifying particular geographic areas and demographic groups that may be disparately affected by pollution.
More on environmental justice.

Data Summary
The data summary provides a quick overview of land contamination sources in your community. Scorecard gives the total number of Superfund sites in any geographic area, and breaks down this total into the number of sites that have polluted drinking water supplies, as well as the number of sites in various EPA-designated stages of cleanup. Click on the numbers for quick access to lists of Superfund site names and details. Scorecard also indicates the numbers of facilities and the quantities of pounds released to land and underground in 1997. Click on the numbers to get the names of facilities responsible or specific chemicals released.

Most Common Contaminants
Scorecard identifies the top contaminants involved in land contamination in your community, with links to authoritative information on the potential health effects of those chemicals. See which contaminant has been detected most often at Superfund sites, and click on the full list to see contaminants ranked in order of detection in specific media (ground water, surface water, air, soil, etc.). This can be a useful tool if you want to see a quick list, for example, of sites in your county where trichloroethylene was detected in the ground water, or where lead was detected in the soil. Scorecard also lists which chemicals were released in greatest quantity to land or underground in your area by TRI manufacturing facilities.

Take Action
If you are concerned about the effects of Superfund site contamination and ongoing releases of toxic chemicals to land and underground in your community, Scorecard encourages you to take action. Send an email to U.S. EPA to express your concern, or join an online discussion to talk with others about pollution problems in your community. From state and county reports, send an email to Congress to voice your opposition to legislation that threatens to weaken the Superfund program.

Scorecard provides links to additional online resources on Superfund sites, and to reports profiling other pollution issues in your community.