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What are some successful ways EPA and other organizations have delivered information about environmental contamination and cleanups to communities, especially to those facing barriers such as remote location, language, and other difficult issues? What are some effective ways of tailoring information to a community to meet their specific needs?

2011 April 29

One of the keys to successful cleanup is working with communities to make sure that the cleanup meets their needs. In order to make this happen, EPA works to establish and maintain lines of communications with communities affected by cleanup. The recently completed Plan EJ 2014 looks for ways to strengthen these lines of communication.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Jeff White of Iowa DNR-UST Section permalink
    April 29, 2011

    My title is corrective action specialist. Among other duties, I serve as facilitator for corrective action conferences where we invite all interested parties to meet together (in person or via telephone) to reach a consensus on a path and schedule to No Action Required classification.
    We invite all those involved, including neighbors, city personnel, county personnel, state, etc. We have held conferences in community meeting halls so local residents can listen and participate. The key is to have a relatively structured program with a chance for all to participate and lots of explanations of terms and acromyms.
    During the conference, I facilitate and take careful notes. After the conference, we send out the notes to all involved.
    We reach a consensus more than 98% of the time. Getting the corrective action to happen on schedule is another story….but we continue to work with all interested parties to keep the sites moving toward cleanup and reclassification.

  2. John Schweizer of John W. Schweizer, P.E. permalink
    May 7, 2011

    As a Technical Sdvisor (TA) for a couple of sites, I am finding that web conferencing is a particularly powerful tool for explaining complicated concepts. Conferencing tools like GoToMeeting allow me to show others what I mean with a display on each participant’s computer screen, and to shift control to a participant so they can show me what they mean. Oftentimes, this technology allows bringing to reality the old saw “a picture is worth a thousand words.” I also like that people can participate by telphone or VoIP.
    For communicating written information in other than my first language, I like the new (freeware) translators offered by Microsoft and Google. These translators appear to be designed for translating websites, but work very well on my technical documents as well.

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