Hurricanes Harvey and Maria demonstrated the impacts that climate change can have on contaminated lands—impacts that can threaten public health and the environment. Sites were inundated by floodwaters, releasing contaminants and exposing residents, first responders, and the regions’ fragile ecosystems to harmful levels of toxins. These threats can exist even on contaminated land that has been remediated to regulatory requirements.
According to a 2017 analysis by the Associated Press, nearly two million people, the majority in low-income communities, live within one mile of 1 of one of the 327 Superfund sites in areas prone to flooding or vulnerable to sea-level rise caused by climate change. See Jason Dearen et al., AP Finds Climate Change Risk for 327 Toxic Superfund Sites, Associated Press, Dec. 22, 2017.
These 327 sites are part of a much larger universe of U.S. sites that need to be assessed. There are more than 650,000 contaminated commercial and industrial sites and more than 81,000 acres of brownfields at 21,000 sites in 232 cities across the United States.
Globally, the number of contaminated sites is overwhelming; estimates for Europe alone (excluding many diffuse land contamination problems) range from 2.5 to 4.5 million sites. In China, there are 200,000 contaminated sites, and about 20 percent of farmland is contaminated by trace metals, pesticides, and hydrocarbons such as petrochemicals. See R. Paul Bardos et al., Sustainable Remediation, in Dealing with Contaminated Sites: From Theory towards Practical Application 889 (Frank A. Swartjes ed., 2011).
The good news is that there are emerging efforts underway (which began in the United States and are now expanding globally) to plan for and address the risks from climate change impacts at contaminated and other impaired sites. Because these efforts have not been well publicized, this article provides an overview of the latest developments in climate-resilient sustainable remediation.
Research spearheaded by the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF), a U.S. nonprofit organization, addresses the long-term sustainability of site remediation and reuse from climate change impacts and examines the benefits of rehabilitated land in strengthening community, economic, and ecosystem resilience. Starting in the United States, the SURF movement has expanded around the globe. Twelve SURFs communicate regularly, convene a biennial conference, and helped develop the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Sustainable Remediation (SR) standard. SR maximizes the overall environmental, societal, and economic benefits from the cleanup and reuse of contaminated lands. The SURFs formally collaborate as the International Sustainable Remediation Alliance, which shares an interest in climate change and resilience as part of global sustainable land management.
Climate change adaptation can also help expedite cleanup and redevelopment, decreasing climate change risks and providing value for communities. And climate-resilient remediation and reuse of contaminated lands can help achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals for land management, clean energy, and sustainable cities.
Long-Term Sustainability of Site Remediation
Decades of research (most recently, the 2017 U.S. Climate Science Special Report) have confirmed the current global reality of more powerful and frequent storms, heavy rainfall, heat waves, wildfires, and droughts. Rising sea levels, long-term stress on water availability, dynamic groundwater levels, acidification, and rising temperatures represent further threats to ecosystems and communities. At hazardous sites, climate change can undermine the effectiveness of the original site remediation design and can impact contaminant toxicity, exposure, organism sensitivity, fate and transport, and long-term operations, management, and stewardship of remediation sites.
Higher temperatures and lowered pH can increase the availability of contaminants in the environment. For example, the speciation and availability of metals changes with environmental pH, and the fate and transport of persistent organic pollutants changes with temperature and precipitation. See Frank J. Millero et al., Effect of Ocean Acidification on the Speciation of Metals in Seawater, 22 Oceanography 72 (2009); Martí Nadal et al., Climate Change and Environmental Concentrations of POPs: A Review, 143A Envtl. Res. 177 (2015).
Increasing temperatures also can change the availability and use of water. Warmer temperatures can result in altered precipitation (flood or drought), increased evaporation rates of surface water, increased rates of water uptake by vegetation, and reduced rates of water recharge to soils and groundwater reservoirs. These changes are happening at the same time as groundwater extraction is increasing for drinking, irrigation, and industrial purposes. J. S. Famiglietti, The Global Groundwater Crisis, 4 Nature Climate Change 945 (2014).
Similarly, the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems can be affected by environmental change. Higher temperatures increase the metabolic rate of ectotherms (organisms that derive their heat, and therefore maintain their metabolic activity, from the environment around them), which can increase the rate at which they absorb or process contaminants. Pamela D. Noyes et al., The Toxicology of Climate Change: Environmental Contaminants in a Warming World, 35 Env’t Int’l 971 (2009). Behavioral changes in response to environmental change also may alter exposure and sensitivity as organisms react to new stresses in ways that ameliorate or exacerbate other stresses.
The communities adjacent to contaminated sites often are composed of socio-economically depressed people and people of color, and usually have little influence over the decision-making process, even when they are most impacted. Failure to consider social vulnerability to climate change could compromise remediation, adaptation strategies, and public support.
CERCLA Liability for Climate Change Costs at Contaminated Sites
Research to date has found that only the U.S. courts have considered the liability/legal implications of climate change on contaminated lands. Parties liable under the U.S. federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) will face additional liability if global warming–related weather events exacerbate problems on contaminated properties.
Although CERCLA contains an “Act of God” defense, the defense is essentially illusory. CERCLA defines an “Act of God” to mean “an unanticipated grave natural disaster or other natural phenomena of an exceptional, inevitable, and irresistible character, the effects of which could not have been prevented or avoided by the exercise of due care or foresight.” 42 U.S.C. § 9601(1) (1980) (emphasis added). Clearly, in 2018, the impacts of climate change are not unanticipated, and there are actions that could be taken to prevent or minimize adverse effects. Professor Kenneth Kristl’s article on the Act of God defense nearly a decade ago was prescient. Kenneth Kristl, Diminishing the Divine: Climate Change and the Act of God Defense, 15 Widener L. Rev. 325 (2010). He noted that because the hurricanes, storms, and flooding that were once considered Acts of God are more and more foreseeable, “it already is harder for such climatic events to be considered ‘unexpected’ and ‘unusual’ [and the] predicted increased frequency and intensity of such events due to climate change will make such events even more foreseeable and thus less likely to satisfy the traditional definitions of Acts of God.” Id. at 361–62.
Moreover, CERCLA creates three extremely high hurdles—which the defendant has the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence—necessary to succeed with the Act of God defense, and those hurdles almost certainly will be insurmountable. First, the defendant will have to prove that the Act of God was the “sole cause” of the hazardous substances release. 42 U.S.C. § 9607(b)(1) (1980). Second, the defendant will have to prove the event was “unanticipated.” 42 U.S.C. § 9601(1) (1980). Third, the defendant will have to prove that the effects of the event “could not have been prevented or avoided by the exercise of due care or foresight.” Id. The futility of the Act of God defense is illustrated by the results in the cases in which it has been unsuccessfully tried. See, e.g., United States v. Stringfellow, 661 F. Supp. 1053 (C.D. Cal. 1987); United States v. W.R. Grace & Co., 280 F. Supp. 2d 1135 (D. Mont. 2002); United States v. Alcan Aluminum Corp., 892 F. Supp. 648 (M.D. Pa. 1995), aff’d, 96 F.3d 1434 (3d Cir. 1996); United States. v. Barrier Industries, Inc., 991 F. Supp. 678 (S.D. N.Y. 1998); United States v. M/V Santa Clara I, 887 F. Supp. 825, 843 (D.S.C. 1995).
Thus, liable parties at contaminated sites have pocketbook incentives to design cleanup plans that anticipate and accommodate potential climate-change impacts.
Integrating Sustainable Remediation and Climate Change Adaptation
Historical management of contaminated land was largely based on prevention of unacceptable risks to human health and the environment to ensure a site could safely be reused. Over the last two decades, sustainability has become a factor globally (although not yet widely practiced) in remediation decisions. The 2017 ISO Standard defines SR as “elimination and/or control of unacceptable risks in a safe and timely manner whilst optimizing the environmental, social and economic value of the work.” International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Soil quality—Sustainable remediation, ISO 18504:2017.
As part of a federal government-wide effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began analyzing how climate change could impact the nation’s most hazardous sites (those endangering public health and the environment) and developing best practices for the most vulnerable remediation techniques. U.S. Envtl. Protection Agency, Superfund Climate Change Adaptation, www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-climate- change-adaptation (last visited Aug. 13, 2018). EPA also reported on additional community benefits of climate change adaptation at brownfields (abandoned, idled, or underused industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination). Brownfields adaptation strategies include land use, zoning, and building code changes and development incentives that could increase resiliency. U.S. Envtl. Protection Agency, Climate Adaptation and Brownfields, www.epa.gov/brownfields/climate-adaptation-and-brownfields (last visited Aug. 13, 2018).
SURF recommendations to advance climate change resilience within contaminated lands rehabilitation build on these EPA initiatives, along with well-established climate change adaptation tenets, marrying them with sustainable remediation principles.
The National Climate Assessment (NCA) provides an in-depth assessment of climate change impacts on the lives of Americans. A draft of the forthcoming assessment, the Fourth NCA (NCA4 Vol. II), suggests a different approach for assessing the effects of climate change by considering how various impacts interact with each other. See Nat’l Academies of Sci., Engineering, and Med., Volume II of NCA4, Climate Change Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States, draft Nov. 3, 2017. SURF’s SR framework aligns well with the NCA’s approach by advocating for “a systematic, process-based, iterative, holistic approach beginning with the site end use in mind.” Barbara Maco et al., Climate Change and Resilience within Contaminated Lands Rehabilitation 3 (July 2018) (on file with author). This holistic approach includes planning for uncertainty; addressing social impacts, equity concerns, and opportunities; and reducing the rate and extent of local, regional, and global climate change. Id. at 14.
Aligned with these principles are recommended site-specific protocols that begin with recent Washington State Department of Ecology (WA DOE) guidance. This guidance helps practitioners understand site-specific climate change vulnerabilities (through low/high risk scenarios) and impacts, and provides recommendations to increase resilience of remedies at each phase of cleanup. See Wash. St. Dep’t of Ecology, Adaptation Strategies for Resilient Cleanup Remedies, Publ. No. 17-09-052 (2017).
The first step is a vulnerability assessment evaluating the sensitivity, exposure, and adaptive capacity of the site, contaminant, or remediation technique to climate change. An evaluation of a system’s vulnerability to climate change involves identifying climate change hazards of concern (such as treatment or containment systems) considering potential climate or weather. Vulnerability assessments should address contaminant toxicity; exposure; organism sensitivity; fate and transport; and long-term operation, management, and stewardship of remediation sites. For example, an estimate should be developed of the impacts of generating greenhouse gas (GHG) from (1) major onsite and off-site transportation components, (2) major energy use requirements from treatment and disposal activities associated with the construction of each site-wide corrective measures alternative, and (3) long-term operation and maintenance. See Emerald Erickson, Summary Report of Washington State Department of Ecology Adaptation Strategies for Resilient Cleanup Remedies, Feb. 2018 (on file with author).
The site vulnerability assessment process also should involve local government and residents by engaging their knowledge to confirm findings (are the potential impacts of climate change properly characterized?) and to develop climate change adaptation strategies. Stakeholder engagement strategies can include focus group interviews, local workshops, or public comment. This process also can increase local understanding of the risk of climate change and provide new perspectives on remediation options. See Melissa Harclerode et al., Integrating the Social Dimension in Remediation Decision-Making: State of the Practice and Way Forward, 26 Remediation J. 11 (Winter 2015).
Vulnerability assessments should lead to adaptation strategies that increase a remediation system’s resilience to climate change. These involve identifying measures that potentially apply to climate scenarios or projections and then selecting and implementing priority adaptation measures for the given treatment or containment system. Adaptation strategies can also leverage existing regulatory tools such as the superfund five-year reviews.
Adaptation strategies can be categorized as resistance, resilience, and response. Resistance strategies maintain current conditions. They can include physical security, such as hardening covers, caps, and barriers to prevent flooding or erosion. Resistance strategies eventually will succumb to change or need to be increased at continuing cost.
Resilience strategies allow sites to experience the change but still manage contaminant mitigation successfully. For example, to improve protectiveness and long-term effectiveness against more frequent severe storms, damaged portions of an intertidal cap at the Port Gamble Bay and Mill Site in Washington were repaired and replaced with an armor of rocks and other natural materials almost twice the original size. Resilience strategies also include backup power and remote communication. An example developed by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory for the Department of Energy capitalizes on twenty-first-century technology through a new streamlined real-time data analysis and early warning system for the Savannah River Site F-Area, with a 50 percent cost savings. Resilience strategies can also include the use of recycled water, including treated groundwater, to respond to drought conditions or saltwater intrusion.
Another example of resilience comes from Huangshi in south central China, where intensive mining and smelting have caused significant air and water pollution and the contamination of nearby agricultural lands. Strip mining resulted in more than 100 man-made bluffs, which are susceptible to landslides. One of the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities, Huangshi helped stabilize the land at these abandoned sites to prevent flooding and protect resources and human health. These efforts included controlling water pollution through sewage collection, water treatment, and increasing vegetation with ecological restoration projects.
Response strategies range from pre- and post-site inspection to removal of some or all of the contamination. For example, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) developed response strategy guidance targeted to site owners and persons responsible for conducting and overseeing cleanup (i.e., licensed site professionals). After storms, all sites should be reevaluated to determine if any immediate environmental concerns needing action arose and whether site conditions changed requiring reassessment. New Jersey Dep’t of Envtl. Protection, Technical Guidance: Planning for and Response to Catastrophic Events at Contaminated Sites (2016).
Responsible parties and regulators employed another effective response strategy at the Purity Oil Sales Superfund Site in Fresno, California. Drought and agricultural pumping caused the groundwater table to drop more than 16 feet. The parties agreed to remove contamination from the newly exposed vadose zone (the area between the ground surface and the water table) through soil vapor extraction. Soil vapor extraction can remove contamination orders of magnitude greater than more traditional pump-and-treat systems.
Japan provides a dramatic example of the impact of extreme weather and heavy precipitation and the vital importance of adequate response strategies. Radionuclides from the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident were released into the atmosphere and then deposited on land and sea surfaces. The government commissioned decontamination work at the plant from 2011 to 2017, which generated approximately 20 million cubic meters of removed contaminated soil. Most of the soil has been stored in about 1,000 temporary storage facilities. Transportation of the soil to interim storage facilities started in 2015, and about 80 percent of the contaminated soil is still kept in the temporary storage sites.
Heavy rainfall in September 2015 caused torrential rain in the Kanto and Tohoku regions in Japan. This heavy rain led to flooding of the major rivers in the restricted area, a village in Fukushima, and the outflow of 448 flexible containers of the radiocarbon (radio Cs) contaminated soil stored in temporary storage on agricultural land along two rivers. The government was able to collect most of the flexible containers from downstream of the rivers, and left the few remaining containers in areas inaccessible to the public. They performed additional emergency measures of connecting the flexible containers with ropes and heavy machinery.
As follow-up, the Japan Ministry of the Environment developed guidelines for “Implementation of Appropriate Initial Response,” which deal with challenges associated with the storage of contaminated soil. For example, storage areas need to be checked in advance when natural disaster predictions are provided, and parties need to implement an emergency response to minimize the damage when contaminated soil scatters and spreads. A flooding crisis can be avoided by appropriate preparation and paying much more attention to impacts of climate change for the sustainable management of contaminated land. Japan Ministry of the Env’t, The Countermeasure for Accident that Outflow of the Radio Cs Contaminated Soil by the Kanto-Tohoku Heavy Rainfall in September 2015, available at www.env.go.jp/jishin/rmp/conf/16/mat06.pdf.
Since 2006, certain U.S. states have become global leaders in the climate change arena.
In addition to the Washington and New Jersey initiatives highlighted above, Massachusetts and California also have established noteworthy programs.
By enacting the Green Communities Act and the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) in 2008, Massachusetts provided for rigorous clean energy goals designed to grow the state’s clean energy economy, increase its energy independence, and reduce the pollution that contributes to climate change. In 2016, the governor issued Executive Order 569 establishing an integrated climate change strategy. Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) promotes the use of “greener cleanup” principles and practices for the assessment and remediation of oil and hazardous material disposal sites through regulation and guidance. MassDEP also is evaluating regulated sites and their vulnerability to climate change impacts through a statewide geographic information system. Thomas M. Potter, Massachusetts Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation for Site Assessment & Remediation, Presentation at Association for Environmental Health and Sciences Conference, Oct. 18, 2017, http://ecoadapt.org/data/documents/ThomasPotter_ Presentation.pdf.
Another global climate leader is California, with its comprehensive climate adaptation strategy. California’s climate change initiatives can be used to address climate resilience of contaminated lands, such as (1) decarbonization (40 percent GHG reduction from 1990 levels by 2030), (2) decentralization of energy (50 percent Renewables Portfolio Standard by 2030), and (3) protection of the most vulnerable communities by linking GHG reduction efforts to transportation and land planning requirements. Additionally, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control is developing climate change guidance specific to hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, and for the cleanup of contaminated sites.
Over the last decade, initiatives of the European Union (EU) and the United States have sought to advance remediation by assessing the benefits of rehabilitated land in strengthening community, economic, and ecosystem resilience.
The EU has supported multiyear projects to research whether marginal land can be used to help mitigate the effects of climate change, either directly such as via services like urban heat island mitigation (Bardos et al., Optimising Value from the Soft Re-use of Brownfield Sites, 563–64 Sci. of the Total Env’t 769 (2016)), or indirectly by providing locations for renewable energy production/carbon fixation (Andersson-Sköld et al., Developing and Validating a Practical Decision Support Tool (DST) for Biomass Selection on Marginal Land, 145 J. of Envtl. Mgmt. 113 (2014)).
Non-built (or soft reuse) of brownfields is strongly related to a much wider European debate about nature-based solutions (NbS), their importance in urban areas, how they might be managed, and how they might be regenerated if necessary. The World Bank and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) introduced the concept of NbS in the late 2000s to highlight the importance of biodiversity conservation for climate change mitigation and adaptation. See Kathy MacKinnon et al., Biodiversity, Climate Change and Adaptation: Nature-based Solutions from the Word Bank Portfolio (2008).
The IUCN proposed NbS for inclusion in the climate change negotiations in Paris “as a way to mitigate and adapt to climate change, secure water, food and energy supplies, reduce poverty and drive economic growth.” Int’l Union for Conservation of Nature, No Time to Lose: Make Full Use of Nature-Based Solutions in the Post-2012 Climate Change Regime (2009). The principles include cost efficiency, harnessing both public and private funding, ease of communication, and replicability of solutions. See Chantal van Ham, IUCN, Pioneering Nature-based Solutions for Cities (2014), available at http://urbionetwork.org/data/documents/2014-10-11_11-OR3-4-02_van_Ham.pdf (last visited Aug. 13, 2018).
The Holistic Management of Brownfield Regeneration (HOMBRE) was another major EU project completed in 2014. See www.zerobrownfields.eu. HOMBRE included research in the services that soft reuse of brownfields might provide, and how those might be appreciated and valued. A simple HOMBRE Excel design sheet helps developers and other brownfield stakeholders map the opportunities, the resulting value, and the initial default design considerations. HOMBRE also identifies specific opportunities for synergies between different “services” such as risk management, water improvement, and renewable energy. Later, UK-funded Prosperity Fund projects developed Spanish and Mandarin Chinese versions of the Brownfield Opportunity Matrix.
Two United Kingdom (UK) Land Trust projects illustrate European efforts to foster climate-resilient redevelopment. First, the UK Land Trust, which began in 2004 with a seed UK government investment, focuses on community-led regeneration and reuse. The Land Trust has extended the utility of impaired lands to create a 53-hectare multifunctional wetland, the Beam Parklands, that links underserved communities to green space in the East London River Basin. Beams Parkland, as a flood defense, protects 570 residential properties, 2 primary schools, 3 social clubs, and 63 industrial and commercial properties. Beams was a UK Natural Capital Initiative pilot project that used traditional accounting methods that estimated Beam’s value of £15.4 million in flood prevention and public health benefits. Allan Provins et al., Developing Corporate Natural Capital Accounts, Final Report for the Natural Capital Committee (2015).
Another UK Land Trust site is Port Sunlight Riverside Park (PSRP), a 28-hectare park located on a former landfill site in Merseyside, which has been capped and covered with leachate and in-place gas management systems. The Land Trust secured a £3.4 million investment for a transformation project encompassing park creation, designation as a site of special protection, and provisions for ongoing management by the charity, Autism Together.
The University of Brighton carried out a retrospective qualitative sustainability assessment using SURF-UK qualitative sustainability assessment guidance, enhanced with the HOMBRE idea of conceptual site models of sustainability. Climate change related considerations were a significant part of the sustainability assessment, including emissions of carbon to atmosphere versus sequestration and the project’s future resilience. Unsurprisingly the reuse of the capped landfill as a public park showed substantive sustainability improvement. See Xiaonuo Li et al., Sustainability of Brownfield Regeneration for Soft Reuse: A Case Study of Port Sunlight River Park (PSRP) Summary Report (2017).
Working for the City of San Francisco, researchers developed a method based on life cycle assessment of GHG emissions to compare brownfields to greenfield land development. The team examined three categories: (1) primary impact (associated with physical state of brownfield sites and greenfield sites), (2) secondary impact (associated with remediation activities at brownfield sites), and (3) tertiary impact (associated with post-remediation usage of the brownfield sites and avoided usage of greenfield land). Overall, the results show that the city’s brownfield land redevelopment led to a net GHG reduction of 51.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq.) over a 70-year period, the equivalent of 14 percent of San Francisco’s 5.3 Mt CO2 eq. GHG emission in 2010. Deyi Hou et al., Climate Change Mitigation Potential of Contaminated Land Redevelopment: A City-level Assessment Method, 171 J. of Cleaner Production 1396 (2018).
Brownfields Redevelopment for Renewable Energy and Community Enterprises
The RE-Powering America’s Land initiative (in which EPA supports renewable energy development on potentially contaminated land, landfills, and mine sites) tracks the economic and environmental benefits associated with completed sites. Common benefits reported from developers/public agencies include revenues from land leases and taxes, electricity cost savings, job creation, and reduced GHG emissions.
The recently completed Marin Clean Energy (MCE) Solar One partnership in the San Francisco Bay Area exemplifies the RE-Power America benefits. MCE Solar One repurposed 60 acres of a remediated brownfields site leased by Chevron to MCE for one dollar per year. At 10.5 megawatts, MCE Solar One will eliminate 3,234 metric tons of carbon dioxide in one year—equivalent to taking more than 680 cars off the road annually. MCE Solar One provided community benefit by partnering with RichmondBUILD, a public-private partnership that focuses on training for skilled construction, hazardous waste removal, and renewable energy jobs. All RichmondBUILD participants come from low-income households. In addition, almost two million dollars was spent on project materials purchased or rented locally. The project also includes an innovative procurement approach called “community choice energy,” in which a public agency offers citizens and businesses an alternative to the utility for purchasing their electricity. MCE homes and businesses now benefit from a more renewable electricity option that costs 2 to 5 percent less than the traditional Bay Area utility rates.
Global Engines for Community and Economic Development
Another international driver that can support sustainable, resilient cleanup and reuse of hazardous sites and impaired lands is the UN Climate Resilience Initiative: Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape (A2R), which focuses on the capacity to reshape development pathways by (1) transforming economies to reduce risks and root causes of vulnerabilities, and (2) supporting the sound management of physical infrastructure and ecosystems to foster climate resilience.
Complementing A2R is the World Bank vision of contaminated sites as “engines for economic development, sources of sustainable energy, food security & efficiency—all while assuring public health and environmental protection.” See World Bank, Systems of Cities: Harnessing Urbanization for Growth and Poverty Alleviation (2009).
To support this vision, the World Bank identified several innovative financing mechanisms and case studies. One of them, the Ginkgo Financial Fund, focuses on small- to medium-sized sites with slight to moderate contamination and redevelops properties according to strict energy efficiency standards and mitigating CO2 emissions. One Ginkgo case study is the Versailles-Satory Project, a former military shooting range site polluted with unexploded ordnance (UXO). UXO sites are common globally. An area of 800,000 m2 will be devoted to a mix of technological and industrial activities and residential housing. World Bank Group, Financing Mechanisms for Addressing Remediation of Site Contamination 59 (2014).
In sum, by following a systematic, holistic approach with the site end use in mind, and by meeting priority social and economic needs, climate-resilient sustainable land rehabilitation can reduce public health risks and create long-term value for communities. Global partners are coordinating strategic investments from governments, foundations, corporations, and individuals to support pilot studies and conduct national and international capacity building.