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Environmental Cleanup / Restoration

JPL Ground Water Treatment System
The NASA groundwater treatment system at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) source area treats groundwater at a 300 gallons per minute capacity and is located at the site with the highest groundwater contamination. In partnership with EPA, the State of California and local water companies, this plant is part of a system of three plants that removes NASA's chemicals from the groundwater, prevents further migration of groundwater chemicals from the JPL facility and ensures that local residents have clean water.

Environmental Cleanup / Restoration

Mission, Goals, and Objectives

The purpose of NASA's Environmental Compliance and Restoration (ECR) Program is to clean up chemicals released to the environment from past activities. Cleanups are prioritized to ensure that the highest priority liabilities are addressed first in order to protect human health and the environment and preserve natural resources for future missions. Funding is managed through the ECR Program within Construction and Environmental Compliance and Restoration Appropriations. ECR projects include both Restoration projects and Environmental Management Investment projects.

How Environmental Cleanup / Restoration Supports NASA's Mission

  • Ensuring public and employees are not exposed to chemicals released from past activities.
  • Restoring impacted natural resources for current and future missions.
  • Preserving NASA's reputation as a "good neighbor" so that NASA activities will continue to enjoy strong public support.
  • Reducing the Agency's unfunded environmental liability so that future funding may go toward Mission requirements.
  • Addressing changing regulatory requirements and advances in scientific information to ensure chemical risk management decisions remain based on sound science and support mission activities.
  • Working with stakeholders, such as environmental groups, tribes, State and local government agencies, and industry, to identify common goals concerning cleanup of hazardous substances and restoration of natural resources.
  • Maintaining effective communication with policy and regulatory authorities.
  • Advancing partnerships and environmental stewardship.
  • Ensuring environmental statutory and regulatory compliance.

The Use & Remediation of TCE at NASA

Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a chemical that has been used commercially in the United States since the 1920s and by NASA since the 1950s as a degreaser for metal parts in early rocket engine testing and aircraft maintenance.  NASA modified processes to reduce the use of TCE and is addressing TCE that remains from historic use. To read more about cleanup efforts, and NASA’s research with identifying TCE substitutes, click here

Environmental Cleanup and Restoration Regulatory Drivers

NASA Procedural Directives (NPDs) and NASA Procedural Requirements (NPRs)

  • NPR 8590.1A  NASA Environmental Compliance and Restoration (ECR) Program
  • NPR 9260.1  Revenue, Unfunded Liabilities, and Other Liabilities

Federal Laws

Executive Orders (EOs)

  • EO 12088  Federal Compliance with Pollution Control Standards
  • EO 12580  Superfund Implementation
  • EO 12898  Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations
  • EO 13016  Amendment to EO 12580 Concerning Exercise of Authority Under CERCLA Section 106

Environmental Cleanup / Restoration Point of Contact

Mark J. Schoppet

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Page Last Updated: March 4th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator