The US EPA has announced the winners of the seventh annual National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse Awards. These awards highlight the accomplishments of federal agencies, states, Tribes, local partners, communities and developers in restoring and reusing contaminated land at federal facilities.  “This year’s winners demonstrate the importance of strong partnerships in transforming contaminated federal facilities into community assets,” said Cliff Villa, EPA’s Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Land and Emergency Management.

The 2024 Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse winners are:

  • Superfund National Priorities List Award: Oak Ridge Reservation, Tennessee (Department of Energy – Office of Environmental Management). This reservation, a former federal uranium enrichment operation using gaseous diffusion, operated until 1985 as part of the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Now, after years of cleanup, planning, and development efforts, the 2,200-acre former plant, renamed the East Tennessee Technology Park, has been revitalized into a multi-use industrial park, including Clean Energy businesses, a Manhattan Project National Historic Park, and a nature conservation area.
  • Base Realignment and Closure Award: Former Norton Air Force Base, California (Air Force). Under the Base Realignment and Closure Act, the former Air Force base closed in 1994. What was once Norton Air Force Base is now San Bernardino International Airport and a global logistics complex, employing nearly 18,000 people, exceeding the number and diversity of jobs when it was an operating base. Companies on site include Amazon, Kohl’s, Mattel, UPS, FedEx, Stater Brothers complex, and Pep Boys. This site demonstrates how successful partnerships between public and private entities and the local community can facilitate the transformation of a military facility with significant environmental issues into a multi-use area that is an asset to the community, while being a catalyst for revitalization of the surrounding area.
  • Superfund Non-National Priorities List Award: Tuba City Disposal Site, Arizona (Department of Energy – Office of Legacy Management). This site is leased from the Navajo Nation and located a mile from the Hopi Reservation. The site operated as a uranium mill from 1956 to 1966, contaminating approximately 300 acres of the Arizona desert. Congress passed the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act in 1978, and the U.S. Department of Energy remediated the site under the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project. Remediation of the nearby groundwater continues today; a 51 kilowatts-direct current solar photovoltaic system provides renewable power for the operation of the groundwater remediation, and an additional 285 kilowatts-direct solar photovoltaic system is tied into the Arizona Public Service electrical grid, connecting it to the community and U.S. electrical grid. A cooperative agreement and partnerships between leaders from the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Reservation, and the Department of Energy is crucial to the site success.

Background

EPA created the National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse award to recognize exceptional work remediating a federal site for its beneficial use and creating positive impacts to the community.  EPA has ongoing cleanup and property transfer responsibilities at nearly 2,400 federal facility sites, including 175 federal facilities on the Superfund National Priorities List, which are some of the largest and most complex cleanup sites in the U.S. The agency promotes innovative, cost-effective cleanups at other federal facilities by working with federal agencies, state, Tribal, and local governments, communities, and developers to ensure that facilities meet environmental standards and undergo redevelopment for both public and private-sector reuse.

These awards are given to project teams who have demonstrated excellence in working cooperatively with EPA to ensure the reuse of a site complements the type of cleanup actions taken. Award winners have demonstrated excellence in:

  1. Working cooperatively and forming partnerships.
  2. Complementing redevelopment design with the selected remedy.
  3. Innovating beneficial use outcomes.
  4. Considering the impacts on and inputs from the local community.
  5. Creating jobs, fostering economic development or recreational opportunities, or sustaining mission support.
For more information, visit https://www.epa.gov/fedfac/2024-national-federal-facility-excellence-site-reuse-awards.

Sponsor