Equity, Sustainability and Resilience

Environmental Justice and Equitable Reinvestment

Providing Economic Analysis to Determine the Effects of Cleanups on Communities

Situation

Hazardous waste sites can threaten economic prosperity as well as public health and the environment. As facilities close, communities lose jobs and are left with contaminated properties that foster blight, reduce home values, lower tax revenues, dent spending and negatively impact neighborhoods. Cleaning up these areas reopens vital doors, restoring value to properties and surrounding areas. In turn, reuse can revitalize communities, as businesses, jobs, tax revenues and spending return.

The history of the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport Area site near Phoenix is one such remarkable story. EPA and the community sought to highlight the project’s striking outcomes, in which community stakeholders collaborated on cleanup and reuse. The project also addressed a regional priority – the availability and affordability of clean water. The project’s benefits had not been quantified.

Solution

Skeo researched its economic benefits. Visiting with the community built local relationships and guided information gathering. We then calculated the value of the water recycled and used community wide, identified the companies employing people on site, and calculated the jobs and incomes provided by these businesses.

 

Outcomes

The resulting EPA report showed how the cleanup supports new and long-time businesses and protects public health and the environment. Remarkable partnerships have resulted in the innovative reuse of billions of gallons of treated groundwater – saving money and recycling a valuable and finite resource. The irrigation of local athletic fields, for example, saves the community about $500,000 annually. Today, on-site businesses provide over 1,000 jobs and an estimated $40 million in annual employee income.

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“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt