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

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division
Grove Landfill, Austin, TX

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Illegal Dump
Prior to Cleanup

Cleanup Objectives: Remediate a 9.8-acre urban brownfield along the Colorado River by removing a 3.6-acre landfill containing 5,000 cubic yards of illegally dumped debris and treating soil and surface water contaminated by volatile organic compounds, metals, and pesticides/herbicides

Green Remediation Strategy: Use a range of BMPs for waste management, surface water treatment and storage, soil and ecological restoration, and clean energy that could be integrated into sustainable reuse of the site

  • Take advantage of a partnership involving land donation from the private owner to a local, nonprofit environmental group, Rhizome Collective, Inc.
  • Secure a brownfields cleanup grant (totaling $200,000 upon award) from the U.S. EPA in 2004 to assess, remediate, and prepare the site for community use
  • Chip or shred the existing wood debris to create mulch for recreational trails and erosion control
  • Salvage discarded metal and concrete for potential onsite use or sale to local organizations
  • Power cleanup equipment such as electricity generators and tractors through biofuel (locally made from discarded vegetable oil) or through small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) panels (where grid electricity is not readily available)
  • Inoculate demolition chainsaws with fungi spore-laden oil to aid degradation of residual contaminants across the site
  • Construct floating islands (of recovered soda bottles) to create habitat for life forms capable of bioremediating residual toxins in an existing pond
  • Re-vegetate the site by planting grasses, wildflowers, and trees that are native to the area, to minimize maintenance needs


  • Found beneficial uses for vegetative and man-made waste materials in site reuse that targets educational demonstrations on environmental sustainability
  • Sold 31.6 tons of salvaged metal to a local recycler
  • Extracted and disposed of 680 discarded tires at a municipal recycling facility
  • Avoided installation of utility lines and associated air emissions from construction equipment (and additional consumption of grid-supplied electricity) by using the PV energy system wherever possible
  • Minimized air emissions during cleanup through use of clean fuel technologies for field machinery
  • Reduced contaminant concentrations in land and surface water through nonintrusive biodegradation techniques
  • Converted the site's debris-impacted pond to a preservation area for aquatic life
  • Restored the site's community of mammals such as deer and fox and diversified the bird population
  • Began harvesting rainwater for onsite use such as irrigation
  • Completed site cleanup within a single year, after work commenced in January 2005
  • Formed a close working relationships with the City of Austin's Brownfields Redevelopment Office and Solid Waste Services, as well as many weekend volunteers, which fostered full conversion of the property to an environmental education center operated by Ecology Action of Texas as of 2009
  • Continuing to develop nature trails for the community and areas for urban wildlife preservation, to complement the adjacent 363-acre Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park
  • Serving as a regional showcase for sustainable approaches to land use such as small-scale farming, community garden beds, and commercial composting

Property End Use: Urban recycling center and an education center for environmental sustainability

Point of Contact: Amber Perry, U.S. EPA Region 6; Scott Crow, Ecology Action of Texas

Update: October 2011

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