U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division
Methodology & Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis (SEFA)

EPA's "Methodology for Understanding and Reducing a Project's Environmental Footprint" report presents green remediation metrics associated with contaminated site cleanup and a process to quantify those metrics. Application of the methodology can help project teams quantify footprint metrics, identify green remediation best management practices (BMPs) that target large contributions to the footprint, and document footprint reductions achieved. The methodology includes:

  • A total of 21 metrics corresponding to core elements of a greener cleanup, and
  • A seven-step quantification process.

The report also addresses:

  • The purpose of the methodology, the value of footprint analysis, and the level of effort and cost in conducting a footprint analysis
  • Considerations for interpreting and using the analytical results, and
  • Illustrative approaches to reduce the footprint.

EPA also developed a set of analytical workbooks known as "SEFA" (Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis), which assists the user in estimating the footprint metrics established in the methodology. EPA now uses the methodology and SEFA when quantifying a cleanup's environmental footprint; other parties may wish to use the methodology and SEFA for similar efforts on a voluntary basis. EPA's Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation intends to update the methodology and SEFA periodically to reflect new information; associated updates will be posted on this website.

EPA's set of green remediation metrics corresponds with the five core elements of a greener cleanup and may be measured in distinct quantitative units. Each metric represents a parameter that a project team likely has the ability to change when planning and implementing a cleanup in order to achieve a smaller environmental footprint.

Quantification Process in the Methodology
Step 1: Set goals and scope of analysis
Step 2: Gather remedy information
Step 3: Quantify onsite materials and waste metrics
Step 4: Quantify onsite water metrics
Step 5: Quantify energy and air metrics
Step 6: Qualitatively describe affected ecosystem services
Step 7: Present results
Core Element Green Remediation Metric Unit of Measure
Materials & Waste M&W-1 Refined materials used on site tons
M&W-2 Percent of refined materials from recycled or waste material percent
M&W-3 Unrefined materials used on site tons
M&W-4 Percent of unrefined materials from recycled or waste material percent
M&W-5 Onsite hazardous waste generated tons
M&W-6 Onsite non-hazardous waste generated tons
M&W-7 Percent of total potential onsite waste that is recycled or reused percent
Water   Onsite water use (by source)  
W-1 - Source, use, fate combination #1 millions of gallons
W-2 - Source, use, fate combination #2 millions of gallons
W-3 - Source, use, fate combination #3 millions of gallons
W-4 - Source, use, fate combination #4 millions of gallons
Energy E-1 Total energy use MMBtu
E-2 Total energy voluntarily derived from renewable resources  
E-2A - Onsite generation or use and biodiesel use MMBtu
E-2B - Voluntary purchase of renewable electricity MWh
E-2C - Voluntary purchase of RECs MWh
Air A-1 Onsite NOx, SOx, and PM10 emissions lbs
A-2 Onsite HAP emissions lbs
A-3 Total NOx, SOx, and PM10 emissions lbs
A-4 Total HAP emissions lbs
A-5 Total GHG emissions tons CO2e
Land & Ecosystems Qualitative description

Appendices of the report provide:

  • Seventeen exhibits containing planning checklists along with user-friendly reference tables on aspects such as common conversion factors, typical contents of materials frequently used for cleanup, and typical energy demands of equipment deployed in the field
  • A series of spreadsheets illustrating potential formats for organizing raw data and quantified estimates and for presenting overall results of analysis, and
  • Footprint reduction scenarios illustrating use of the methodology.

EPA pilot tested the methodology from 2009 through 2011 at several sites, including Romic East Palo Alto, BP Wood River, and Travis Air Force Base. Prototypes of the methodology and the SEFA workbooks were used in the pilot testing. More information about green remediation practices that can be used to reduce the environmental footprint of cleanup projects is available through EPA's series of BMP fact sheets on specific remedies and other key issues. Examples where BMPs have been applied at cleanup sites can be found in EPA's online profiles of green remediation.

Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis (SEFA):
Access and User Instructions

The SEFA workbooks allow the user to prepare an environmental footprint analysis as described in EPA's methodology. SEFA provides a spreadsheet-based means to document and process site-specific information from a cleanup project, resulting in metrics that reflect the project's environmental footprint. Information to be input by the user may be gathered from project documents, field records, and other existing resources. Automated calculations within SEFA generate outputs that help the user to determine which cleanup activities are driving the project's environmental footprint, and to adjust project parameters to reduce the footprint.

>>> Instructions for New Users of SEFA

  • SEFA comprises three internally linked workbooks (files) in a standard spreadsheet (Excel) format; save the files in a single directory to assure accurate/complete data exchange.
  • Optimal functioning of the workbooks relies on use of Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, or higher.
  • An "Introduction" worksheet (tab) in the "Main" workbook provides an overview of SEFA, including its data structure.
  • EPA provides a SEFA Tutorial Package [at left] for new users.
  • Technical support in using SEFA is not available outside the Agency; other parties interested in using or adapting the workbooks may wish to obtain technical assistance from qualified environmental or engineering professionals.

>>> Get EPA's SEFA Workbooks

Note: All three Excel workbooks must be downloaded and opened at the same time, for SEFA to function properly.

SEFA was originally posted on April 16, 2012. SEFA was updated to correct a minor calculation error on January 28, 2013, and the updated workbooks were posted on February 11, 2013. On September 13, 2014, an updated "August 2014" version was posted to provide users with greater consolidation of data entry, greater flexibility for specifying site-specific parameters, new charts and graphics for presenting results, and expanded user instructions.

SEFA workbooks do not individually or collectively represent EPA guidance or requirements nor is their use required by EPA. EPA is making SEFA available to the public as a means of disseminating useful information about environmental footprint analysis. The Agency is not responsible for adaptation of this workbook model by other organizations or associated analytical results.


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