Pennsylvania Nature Preserve Recognized by EPA for Excellent Reuse of Superfund Site

The agency is celebrating the 20th anniversary of an initiative encouraging the redevelopment of Superfund sites for sustainable and productive use.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized the Heritage Conservancy in Southern Bucks County, Pennsylvania with its Excellence in Site Reuse Award for its “outstanding work” in rehabilitating and preserving a Superfund site in eastern Pennsylvania.

In the mid-1980s, the EPA found that the 3.5 square mile Croydon TCE Superfund site had elevated levels of volatile organic compounds in its groundwater. The agency remedied the situation by connecting affected residents to public water and constructing a groundwater extraction and treatment system to clean up the contamination, according to a press release.

The Heritage Conservancy acquired 80 acres of the Croydon site in 2016 and oversees the preservation of one of the last remaining coastal plain forests in the state. Through its nature preserve, the organization provides the public with green space that is inhabited by a variety of animals and facilitates field trips for local Little Leaguers and elementary school students.

“Green spaces that exist in highly populated areas are some of the most important natural lands that exist today, because they provide connections to nature for people who would not otherwise be able to experience it,” Jeffrey Marshall, the Heritage Conservancy’s president, said in a statement.

The award was given as part of the EPA’s commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, which was launched in 1999 in hopes of encouraging organizations to return formerly contaminated areas to productive use for nearby communities.

About 1,000 Superfund sites are in reuse today, according to the EPA, and more than 8,600 businesses on 529 sites generated $52.4 billion in sales in the fiscal year 2018. That’s more than four times the amount the EPA spent in total at those sites, the agency said.

The Heritage Conservancy award was one in a series of events that the agency will hold over the next 12 months recognizing the revitalization of communities that previously had contaminated Superfund sites. To this end, the EPA has recently curated a nationwide list of Superfund sites with the greatest expected potential for redevelopment with the hope of promoting further action to return sites to productive use after the cleanup process comes to a close.

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