Mitigate the hazards of contaminated sites and associated human exposure risks.
Contaminated soil can leach toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater or surface waters, accumulate in sediments, volatilize and pose hazards to indoor air in buildings on the premises or be carried by wind-borne dust. When left unmanaged, contaminants from such sites can pose risks to those who live and work nearby through inhalation, ingestion or dermal contact.
The World Health Organization’s ten chemicals of major public health concern in relation to soils include arsenic, asbestos, dioxin, pesticides and heavy metals (mercury, lead and cadmium). Exposure to inorganic arsenic over an extended period can lead to digestive, skin, heart, liver and neurological damage. Inorganic arsenic is known also to be carcinogenic. Asbestos, also a known human carcinogen, can lead to mesothelioma and asbestosis. Dioxins are a highly toxic class of chemicals linked to negative reproductive and developmental effects, immune system damage and cancer. Pesticides or herbicides derived from trinitrotoluene may also contain dioxin as an impurity, which can present similar hazards. Studies have shown that individuals with greater exposure to pesticides, for example landscapers and children from homes where pesticides are regularly applied, are at a greater risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Increased risk for prostate cancer is associated with exposure to methyl bromide, a fumigant, and stomach cancer is associated with exposure to atrazine, an herbicide. Leukemia, especially in children, has also been linked with exposure to pesticides, as have kidney and pancreatic cancers. As most consumers tend to be exposed to a mix of pesticide chemicals at low, chronic levels, clear cause and effect of such exposures is not yet well established. Heavy metal contamination of soil, including by lead, mercury and cadmium, is linked to kidney disease. Exposure to mercury can also cause an increase in blood pressure and/or heart rate and is linked to disorders of the central nervous system. Similarly, exposure to lead is associated with increased blood pressure as well as having negative impacts on intelligence quotient (IQ), learning, memory and behavior. In addition to targeting and disrupting kidney function, cadmium is known to compromise lung and respiratory function.
Implement Site Assessment and Cleanup (2 points)
Project sites used for past or present industrial activities [e.g. hazardous waste storage, fuel station, manufacturing plant, dry cleaners (on-site plant), automotive repair] undertake site assessment and remediation, prior to construction, per the following:
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment as described in ASTM E1527-05.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment as described in ASTM E1903-97.
ISO/PRF 18504, Soil Quality Guidance on Sustainable Remediation, ASTM E2893-16, Standard Guide for Greener Cleanups or an equivalent program. Sustainable remediation programs considered equivalent must include the following base criteria:
- Provide risk-based approach to sustainable remediation (risk assessment/risk-benefit analysis).
- Consider the three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic.
- Apply a tiered approach to assessment and provide an appraisal of remediation options.
- Consider safe working practices for workers during remediation.
- Require record keeping of decision-making and assessment processes.
- Provide protocol for engaging stakeholders, including management of impacts on community.
- Adopt a long-term vision that ensures lasting results.
Note: A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is intended to identify conditions suggestive of hazardous substance release through the visible examination of environmental conditions and historical uses of the site.
A Phase II ESA is intended to further evaluate conditions identified in the Phase I ESA, including sampling of media, chemical analysis, evaluating risk and determining extent and protocol for cleanup.
Existing projects can attain points by presenting documentation showing soil investigation and remediation was performed, per the listed standards, prior to development.
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