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Greener Cleanup Consensus Standard Initiative

EPA representatives worked with ASTM International to develop a consensus-based standard intended to encourage property owners, regulatory agencies, responsible parties, developers and communities to voluntarily use greener practices for contaminated site cleanup. As a starting point for the standard development process, EPA and state agencies developed a framework outlining the desired outcomes of a potential standard for greener cleanups. The framework reflected EPA's Principles for Greener Cleanups, which focuses on five core elements associated with a cleanup project's environmental footprint.

ASTM International issued the Standard Guide for Greener Cleanups  Exit in 2013 and an updated version (E2893-16) in May 2016. The standard guide is intended to complement regulatory and voluntary cleanup programs and accommodate each phase of a cleanup. It includes:

  • A systematic protocol to identify, prioritize, select, implement and report on the use of best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the environmental footprint of cleanup activities.
  • A list outlining 115 greener cleanup BMPs that are linked to the core elements of a greener cleanup and to relevant cleanup technologies.
  • Guidelines to quantify the environmental footprint of cleanup activities.
  • A reporting structure to promote public availability of information relating to the decision-making process and communication of outcomes across the five core elements.

EPA anticipates that use of this private sector standard guide will advance EPA's objectives by:

  • Providing clear definitions, methods, expectations and goals that can be used by all stakeholders involved in a cleanup, making it easier for regulators and the regulated community to implement greener cleanups.
  • Establishing a framework to support new tools for evaluating impacts from cleanups.
  • Building upon state and local government incentives for greener cleanups.

In partnership with the ASTM team, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency collaborated with Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund borrowers to pilot the Standard Guide at four sites: Chicago - Whitney Young Library Exit, Schaumburg - Murzyn/Anderson Property Exit, South Beloit - Corner Parcel Exitand South Beloit - Foundry Parcel Exit.

Certain state agencies have incorporated the finalized Standard Guide by reference in rules, guidance or key resource compilations:

See the December 2013 EPA memorandum regarding the standard guide as a resource to reduce the environmental footprint of cleanups. In line with the Agency's pursuit of a cleaner, safer environment, EPA's regional offices and cleanup program offices are encouraged to use the standard guide in efforts to implement greener cleanup practices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the U.S. EPA require use of the standard guide?

No, the standard guide is not a government regulation and its use is not mandated by the U.S. EPA. Site cleanup programs operated by some federal, state or other regulating agencies, however, may recommend it as a tool to implement existing regulations and policies.

How do I obtain the standard guide?

The standard guide may be purchased directly from ASTM International Exit online. Purchasers have the option to (1) immediately download an electronic file of an Adobe PDF, or (2) request shipping of a hard copy. Some organizations have subscriptions with ASTM enabling individuals within those organizations to access the standard guide at no additional cost. If your agency or company has a library, check there first.

How much does the standard guide cost?

The standard guide costs $69. Associated adjuncts also are available for purchase. The purchasing process involves shopping-cart checkout via major credit card followed by generation of a printable receipt.

Can I share the standard guide with others?

The guide is subject to copyright protections. Reproduction or distribution of the standard guide is prohibited except by the copyright owner. Upon purchasing the standard guide, see the license agreement (including copyright restrictions) for specific allowances and restrictions.

Which types of remediation technologies are addressed in the standard guide?

The standard guide lists 115 best management practices (BMPs) that could apply to a range of technologies, depending on site scenarios. To provide users with a starting point, relevancy of each BMP is assigned to one or more of 12 cleanup technologies:

  • soil vapor extraction: 76 BMPs
  • air sparging: 77 BMPs
  • pump and treat: 79 BMPs
  • in-situ chemical oxidation: 58 BMPs
  • bioremediation/monitored natural attenuation: 58 BMPs
  • in-situ thermal treatment: 72 BMPs
  • phytotechnology: 51 BMPs
  • subsurface containment and installation of PRB: 55 BMPs
  • excavation and surface restoration: 59 BMPs
  • ex-situ bioremediation and chemical oxidation: 60 BMPs
  • landfill covers and caps: 55 BMPs
  • vapor intrusion mitigation: 34 BMPs

How do I reference the standard guide in my report?

The following citation should be used: ASTM E2893-16, Standard Guide for Greener Cleanups, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2016, Exit

Other questions about technical or logistical aspects of the standard guide should be directed to ASTM International. Exit