Illegal dumping of materials on BLM public land poses significant social, environmental, and economic impacts statewide.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) established the Hazardous Materials Management (HazMat) program to reduce risks associated with hazardous materials and solid waste on public lands. Contaminated materials on public lands may cause public endangerment, environmental damage, and damage to wildlife habitat.
Hazardous materials, wastes, and illegal dumps found around abandoned military sites and public lands result in soil contamination and damage to surface water and ground water.
BLM and partners work together to clean up contaminated sites to protect human health, safety, and reclaim the environment. These efforts include:
- Investigating contaminated sites
- Assessing sites for hazardous substances,
health hazards, and level of threat to life
- Removal and cleanup of hazardous substance
- Site restoration
Means and Strategies
Site contains trash, camping gear and an abandoned vehicle.
The BLM uses the following HazMat strategies:
- Developing, implementing, and maintaining emergency response (i.e., oil and chemical spill) contingency planning;
- Leveraging funding to respond to community needs and concerns;
- Assessing and maintaining BLM facilities to ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations;
- Searching for parties responsible for contamination on public lands and either seeking their participation in re mediating the site or recovering costs;
- Partnering with other environmental protection-related agencies
- Sites within the Hazardous Materials Management Program are identified through inventory and discovery, tracked in the Abandoned Mine Site Cleanup Module (AMSCM) data base and prioritized based on risk to human health, natural resources, and the environment.
Hand crews collecting trash and placing it in a backhoe for disposal.
The long-term vision for the Hazmat Program is to protect human health and the environment by focusing on the following:
- Improving accountability by creating effective ways to monitor and track contaminated sites.
- Establishing innovative methods to prevent, as well as reduce, illegal dumping on public lands.
- Promoting environmentally sustainable operations including, but not limited to, pollution prevention, recycling, and environmentally preferable purchasing and contracting;
- Developing internal and external partnerships to jointly provide effective solutions to environmental issues on BLM public lands.
- Improving the BLM’s response capability to oil discharges and hazardous releases along coastal areas in order to protect endangered species and associated habitats through training and updating contingency plans.