Hazmat Cleanup & Compliance
The BLM manages public lands in a manner aimed at minimizing or preventing threats to human health and natural resources. Risks can come from such natural hazards that include floods, wildfire, and earthquakes, or from human-created causes such as toxic spills, waste dumping, or abandoned mine sites.
The BLM’s Hazard Management and Resource Restoration Program, better known as Hazardous Materials Management (HAZMAT), supports the Department of the Interior’s goal of protecting lives, resources, and property, and improving the health of landscapes and watersheds. As part of meeting this goal, the BLM focuses on increasing the percentage of BLM facilities rated in good condition as it pertains to public safety and environmental health; the percentage of physical and chemical hazards mitigated; and the percentage of known contaminated sites that have been remediated. The BLM works with the Environmental Protection Agency, state environmental quality departments, counties, and potentially responsible parties (both public and private) to fund and expedite the cleanup of hazardous waste sites.
HAZMAT on Public Lands
The Hazard Management and Resource Restoration (HMRR) Program commonly known as Hazardous Materials Management (HAZMAT) supports the Department of the Interior’s goals of Serving Communities and Resource Protection by protecting lives, resources and property, and improving the health of landscapes and watersheds. As part of meeting this goal, the BLM focuses on increasing the percent of BLM facilities rated in good safety health and environmental condition; the percent of physical and chemical hazards mitigated; and, the percent of known contaminated sites that have been remediated.
Hazardous Materials Management (HAZMAT)
The BLM’s HAZMAT goals are to minimize environmental contamination on public lands and BLM-owned or -operated facilities; maintain ecosystem health through assessment, cleanup, and restoration of contaminated sites; and integrate environmental protection and compliance with Federal and state laws into all BLM activities.
Cost Recovery and Avoidance
The BLM engages in hazardous material response actions, site evaluations, and prioritization of cleanups in accordance with laws and regulations. This involves working with the Environmental Protection Agency, state environmental quality departments, counties, and potentially responsible parties (both public and private) to fund and expedite the cleanup of hazardous sites.
Solid Waste and Illegal Dumps
Illegal dumping on BLM-managed public land often engenders additional dumping in the same area, a circumstance called “promiscuous dumping.” To reduce or prevent the occurrence of such dumping, the BLM supports community outreach, education, and involvement; targeted enforcement; and the creation of legal alternatives to illegal dumping.
Illegal dumping has been occurring on BLM-managed public lands for many years. Such dump sites often encourage or engender additional illegal dumping in the same area, a circumstance called “promiscuous dumps”.
To prevent and reduce the occurrence of illegal waste dumping on BLM-managed public lands, the Division of Engineering and Environmental Services provides the following recommendations for state and field offices to assist offices with their illegal waste dumping problems:
- Community Outreach, Education, and Involvement,
- Targeted Enforcement,
- Creation of Legal Alternatives for Illegal Dumpers, and Measurement.
These recommendations have been successful at a number of field offices in preventing illegal waste dumping.
The BLM accepts into its public land inventory lands that were once used by the military services (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps) that may contain munitions or explosives. These lands, which comprise five million acres that are accessible to the public, pose special land-management challenges, which is why the BLM collaborates with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to handle ordnance-related concerns. This collaboration extends to the possible transfer of additional military lands to the BLM, which has developed Handbook H-1703-2, Military Munitions and Explosives of Concern, to address management of these areas.