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About EPA

Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) Program Benefits

The Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) in partnership with other federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, and communities strives to preserve land and clean up communities to create a safer environment for all Americans.

On this page:

By Protecting Human Health & the Environment

  • Superfund Cleanup Reduces Blood Lead Levels in Children Exit: Results from an analysis of over one million children’s blood lead levels measurements from across six states over two decades indicate that cleanup at lead contaminated Superfund sites lowered the risk of elevated blood lead levels for children living within 2 kilometers of the sites by 13 to 26 percent.
  • Superfund Cleanup Improves Infant Health Exit: Superfund cleanups reduces the incidence of congenital anomalies in infants of mothers living within 2 kilometers of a site, by roughly 20 percent to 25 percent.
  • Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Prevention Program Protects Groundwater: Strong UST prevention programs have decreased confirmed releases at sites by almost 52 percent over the last 15 years; helping to  protect groundwater – the source of drinking water for nearly half of the US.
  • Responding to Emergencies: Every year, more than 30,000 emergencies involving the release (or threatened release) of oil and hazardous substances are reported in the United States.  EPA works with other federal agencies, state and local responders to eliminate danger to the public. 

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By Leveraging Economic Opportunities and Jobs

  • Cleanup Increases Housing Property Values: Peer reviewed studies have found that residential properties near Superfund and brownfields sites increased in value by 18.7 percent to 24.4 percent  when a Superfund site Exitwas deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) and 5 percent to 15.2 percent as a result of brownfields cleanup ExitResults of recent studies suggest large, positive and statistically significant impacts when as federal facility site Exit is deleted from the NPL and that when a high-profile underground storage tank release Exit is cleaned up average property prices rebound fully.
  • Cleanup Increases Local Tax Revenue: Analyzing data near 48 brownfields, we find an estimated $29 to $73 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 6 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfields. Exit
  • Cleanup Creates Reuse Opportunities and Jobs:
    • Brownfields has leveraged more than 155,000 jobs and $29 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. An average of 9 jobs is leveraged per $100,000 of EPA funds expended.
    • As of 2018 approximately 1,000 Superfund sites are currently in reuse, which is more than half the number of sites on Superfund’s National Priorities List. EPA has data on over 8,600 businesses at 529 of these sites. In 2018 alone, these businesses generated $52.4 billion in sales, which is more than four times the amount EPA has spent at these sites. These businesses employed more than 195,000 people who earned a combined income of over $13 billion.
    • A 2019 analysis identified 22 federal facility Superfund sites being reused with available economic data.  In 2019, at these federal facility Superfund sites there were a total of 1,1422 businesses that generate $9.4 billion in annual sales and provide 115,097 jobs and $7 billion in annual employment income. 
  • RCRA Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Program Creates Jobs and Increases Tax Revenue: America’s recycling and reuse activities, a key part of EPA’s SMM approach, accounted for 757,000 jobs, produced $36.6 billion in wages and generated $6.7 billion in tax revenues in 2007, based on census data. This equates to 1.57 jobs for every 1,000 tons of materials recycled.

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By Working Towards a Sustainable Future

  • RCRA Addresses 2.96 Billion Tons of Solid, Industrial, and Hazardous Waste a Year: Under RCRA, EPA and the states manage the safe disposal of 2.96 billion tons of solid, industrial, and hazardous waste every year. This includes protective standards for the roughly 60,000 facilities in the U.S. that annually generate and manage over 30 to 40 million tons of hazardous waste.

  • RCRA SMM Program Diverts Waste from Entering Landfills and Incinerators: In 2017, OLEM’s SMM Electronic Challenge participants diverted 276,000 tons of end-of life-electronics from the landfill, of which 99.9% went to third-party certified electronics recyclers; while over 1000 Food Recovery Challenge participants prevented and diverted 648,000 tons of wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators.

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OLEM Programs Address Contamination at Superfund, Brownfields and RCRA Sites Near 60 Percent of the U.S. Population

OLEM and its Partners Oversee Facilities to Prevent Releases into Communities

  • RCRA’s Permitting Program Protects People:  EPA and state programs oversee and manage permits for approximately 60,000 facilities generating and managing hazardous waste in the United States. Eighty percent of the U.S. population lives within 3 miles of one or more of these facilities.
  • Risk Management Plan (RMP) Program Protects Communities Located Near 12,300 RMP Facilities:  These facilities contain the largest stockpiles of highly toxic and flammable chemicals in the U.S and report on average about 234 incidents a year resulting in deaths, injuries or significant property damage.
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Program Assists Communities in Emergency Planning for Over 90,000 EPCRA Facilities:  OLEM provides guidance to state and local response organizations in developing emergency response plans for hazardous substances at facilities in more than 3,000 local emergency planning districts.
  • Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Standards Prevent Potentially Dangerous and Costly Releases at 550,000 USTs: EPA sets standards for approximately 550,000 USTs found in communities across the US. 
  • Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans (SPCC) Rule Helps Prevent Oil Spills at Over 540,000 Facilities: Approximately 3,800 of these facilities are required to have a Facility Response Plan because a discharge of oil could cause substantial harm to the environment.

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