EPA Proposes Cleanup Plan to Address Pesticide Warehouse I Superfund Site in Arecibo, Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO (7/30/2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a cleanup plan to address contaminated soil at the Pesticide Warehouse I Superfund Site in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The plan includes removing and disposing of contaminated soil from the site and the long-term monitoring of the groundwater to protect people’s health.

“Under our successful Superfund program, we are proposing the best course of action to protect the public from pesticide-related contamination from this site over the long-term,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “This cleanup plan was developed in consultation with the Puerto Rico government and represents our mutual commitment to protecting human health on the island.”

Under the proposed cleanup plan announced today, EPA is proposing to excavate and remove the upper 10 feet of contaminated soil in targeted areas of the site. The excavated soil, about 14,100 cubic yards, will be thermally treated before being disposed of at facilities licensed to receive the waste. The footprint of the excavation will require that the remaining dilapidated buildings at the site be demolished.

EPA will implement institutional controls to restrict the future use of the site to non-residential uses and utilize long-term monitoring of the groundwater to prevent and reduce human exposure to contaminated groundwater until the cleanup goals are met. EPA is requiring periodic collection and analysis of groundwater samples to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining. Throughout the cleanup, monitoring and further studies will be conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the remedy. The EPA will conduct a review within 5 years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

Pesticide Warehouse I was a pesticide storage warehouse that the Puerto Rico Land Authority owns, which was used for pesticide mixing and storage operations from 1953 to 2003. In October 1999, the property was leased to Agrocampos, Inc. During its years of operation, the site was used to supply pesticides for pineapple crops in the surrounding area as well as for the storage and preparation of insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Leftover and excess pesticides were discharged directly to the ground adjacent to the main warehouse resulting in soil and groundwater contamination, including significantly elevated levels of aldrin, toxaphene, and dieldrin among other hazardous contaminants.

A 30-day public comment period for the proposed plan will occur from July 30, 2020 to August 29, 2020. On August 6, 2020 a Virtual Presentation will be available at the following link: www.epa.gov/superfund/pesticide-warehouse-1

Written comments on EPA’s proposed plan may be mailed or emailed to Luis E. Santos, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, City View Plaza II – Suite 7000, 48 RD, 165 Km. 1.2, Guaynabo, PR, 00968-8069 or santos.luis@epa.gov. Comments postmarked on or before August 29, will be accepted.

The EPA’s proposed plan for the Site will be made available at www.epa.gov/superfund/pesticide-warehouse-1

CONTACT: reyes.brenda@epa.gov

X