The United States Environmental Protect Agency (U.S. EPA) “Principles for Greener Cleanups” provide a foundation for planning and implementing cleanups that protect human health and the environment while minimizing the environmental footprint of cleanup activities.

The U.S. EPA has developed 14 greener cleanup metrics that may be used to quantify specific portions of the footprint, such as the amounts of refined materials, public water or diesel fuel that are used or the amount of wastewater and hazardous waste that is generated.


CategoryMetricUnit of Measure
Refined materials used or conservedtons
Unrefined materials used or conservedtons
WasteHazardous waste generated or avoidedtons
Non-hazardous waste generated or avoidedtons
WaterPublic water used or conservedmillion gallons
Groundwater used or conservedmillion gallons
Wastewater generated or avoidedmillion gallons
Other water used or conservedmillion gallons
EnergyGrid electricity used or conservedmegawatt hours
Diesel used or conserved for equipmentgallons
Diesel used or conserved for transportationgallons
Gasoline used or conserved for equipmentgallons
Gasoline used or conserved for transportationgallons
Other energy used or conserved(variable)

The metrics provide an optional means for regulators, private industry and other cleanup partners to collect and track site-specific footprint information across multiple sites in a uniform and transparent manner. On a site-specific level, use of the metrics can help decision makers prioritize and select best management practices (BMPs) that could be implemented to minimize the footprint. The metrics may be applied to any type of site cleanup, including ones conducted through Superfund, RCRA or brownfield regulatory programs or voluntary initiatives.

Due to wide variations in cleanup project scopes and regional or local priorities, environmental footprints associated with other core elements of a greener cleanup may be quantified through additional metrics chosen by project stakeholders. Parties interested in quantifying a cleanup project’s environmental footprint at a more detailed level may use EPA’s Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis (SEFA).

Questions about the Greener Cleanup Metrics may be forwarded to: Carlos Pachon, EPA/Office of Land and Emergency Management, or Hilary Thornton, EPA/Region 4.