To determine the cities with the most contaminated areas, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2010 Hazardous Waste Site Polygon Data from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. We reviewed land areas of hazardous waste sites as well as areas of cities, towns, and census-designated places overlapping both. We then ranked cities based on the percentage of their total area covered by hazardous waste sites considered for cleanup under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Most sites are either on the EPA National Priorities List or are being considered for inclusion on the NPL.
Hazardous waste site boundaries are maintained by the Geospatial Research, Analysis, and Services Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Boundary and land area data for cities, towns, and census-designated places come from the U.S. Census Bureau and are for 2020. Only cities with at least 50 square miles of land area and 50,000 residents were considered. Population data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates.