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Impacts of more intense storms, increased flooding, and rising sea levels may jeopardize a large number of constructed remedies at Superfund sites. EPA’s inventory of Superfund sites shows that over 500 Superfund sites are within a 100-year floodplain or at an elevation less than six feet above mean sea level, and it is likely that a portion of the engineered systems in place at these sites are vulnerable.

While groundwater pump and treatment systems are essential to protecting drinking water supplies and other water resources, those systems consume and often make that water unavailable for other beneficial uses. That affects the resiliency of water supplies, primarily in drought-affected areas, especially in the western U.S. Many of these existing systems have not been optimized, and their performance can be significantly improved in terms of contamination removal efficiency, and reduced water and energy use.

Our hazardous waste infrastructure also has an impact on climate. It has been estimated that approximately 42% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to materials management activities, and approximately 16% are related to land management choices. An ongoing effort is needed to continue to reduce waste generation, develop treatment technologies that require less energy and chemicals and use less water, and make our hazardous waste infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather.

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