New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a plan to address contaminated soil at a 2-acre former pesticide facility located in the municipality of Manatí, Puerto Rico. The Pesticide Warehouse III Superfund Site has soil and groundwater contaminated with pesticides and dioxins. A groundwater investigation is underway and a plan to address the contamination will be presented at a later date.
“The EPA will work to clean up this unfortunate legacy of pollution in Manati,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “It is imperative that this land is cleaned up to ensure that public health and the environment are protected.”
In 2003, a fire at the site destroyed a former main warehouse and ruined a building next to it. A drainage ditch of approximately five feet in depth and 275 feet in length, collects storm water from the western portion of the site and empties into a natural on-site depression, which contaminates the groundwater.
Residents of Manatí are currently connected to safe sources of drinking water from other municipal water supplies in the region. The Puerto Rico Land Authority owned and operated the site from 1954 to 1996, where pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers were handled. The investigation was conducted and paid for by the EPA.
The EPA held a public meeting in Manati, P.R. on August 18, 2015 and accepted public comments for 30 days, and considered public input before finalizing the plan.
The EPA will excavate and treat the most heavily contaminated soil — approximately 8,800 cubic yards—using a technology that heats the material so that contaminants can be pulled out and captured. After treatment, the soil will be disposed of at approved facilities. The excavated areas will then be backfilled with clean fill and soil. Additionally, areas with deeper soil contamination residues, at depths greater than 10 feet, will be covered to reduce the chance of exposure. The area will be seeded so that vegetation can grow.
During soil cleanup activities, monitoring, testing and further studies will be conducted to ensure the safety of the community and the effectiveness of the cleanup. The EPA will conduct a review every five years to monitor the site. A study to address the groundwater is ongoing.
The record of decision will be available at: http://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/02/372866