Footprint Reduction Process: Using Remote Sensing and GIS Technologies to Identify Non-Contaminated Land Parcels on the Oak Ridge Reservation National Priorities List Site Page: 1 of 12
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Footprint Reduction Process: Using Remote Sensing and GIS Technologies to Identify Non-
Contaminated Land Parcels on the Oak Ridge Reservation National Priorities List Site
A. L. King, Oak Ridge National Laboratory CEvv jr
D. T. Kendall, Bechtel Jacobs Company
R. A. Storms, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation 2 99
P. A. Halsey, U. S. Department of Energy - Oak Ridge Operations Office
In 1989, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry evaluated the entire 35,000-acre
U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR, located in Oak Ridge, TN) and placed
it on the National Priorities List (NPL), making the ORR subject to Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) regulations. Although much of the ORR has not
been impacted by previous federal activities, without investigation it is difficult to discern which parcels
of land are free of surface contamination. In 1996, the DOE Oak Ridge Environmental Management
Program (EM) funded the Footprint Reduction Project to: 1) develop a process to study the large areas of
the ORR that are believed to be free of surface contamination and 2) initiate the delisting of the "clean"
areas from the NPL.
Although this project's goals do not include the transfer of federal property to non-federal
entities, the process development team aimed to provide a final product with multiple uses. Therefore,
the process was developed to meet the requirements of NPL delisting and the transfer of non-
contaminated federal lands to future land users. Section 120 (h) of the CERCLA law identifies the
requirements for the transfer of federal property that is currently part of an NPL site. Reviews of
historical information (including aerial photography), field inspections, and the recorded chain of title
documents for the property are required for the delisting of property prior to transfer from the federal
Despite the widespread availability of remote sensing and other digital geographic data and
geographic information systems (GIS) for the analysis of such data, historical aerial photography is the
only geographic data source required for review under the CERCLA 120 (h) process. However, since the
ORR Environmental Management Program had an established Remote Sensing Program, the Footprint
Reduction Project included the development and application of a methodology for integrating other
existing geographic data sources into the CERCLA 120 (h) review of each study area.
The process that was developed and initiated uses historical information, multiple remote sensing
technologies, and GIS to identify areas of potential contamination within each study area. Non-intrusive
field investigations are conducted to determine the causes of each area of potential contamination. Once
the Footprint Reduction Process is complete for each study area, the clean areas within the study area are
submitted to regulating agencies for approval and removal from the NPL.
FOOTPRINT REDUCTION METHODOLOGY
The Footprint Reduction Project was initiated as part of the Oak Ridge EM Program to identify
those areas on the ORR that are free of surface contamination. Sixteen initial study areas were delineated
by the Footprint Reduction Team through meetings with resource managers, hydrologists, geologists, and
other EM personnel. These sixteen study areas (and subsequent additions and changes) are being
analyzed using a process that incorporates the CERCLA 120 (h) requirements. Figure 1 represents the
current status of the ORR Footprint Reduction Project Study Areas.
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Halsey, P.A.; Kendall, D.T.; King, A.L. & Storms, R.A. Footprint Reduction Process: Using Remote Sensing and GIS Technologies to Identify Non-Contaminated Land Parcels on the Oak Ridge Reservation National Priorities List Site, article, December 9, 1998; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc684874/m1/1/: accessed April 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.