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EPA Encourages the Public to Comment on Plan for Scorpio Recycling Superfund site in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico; $3 Million Project to Address Contaminated Land

Release Date: 08/08/2013
Contact Information: Brenda Reyes, 787-977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to address contaminated soil at the Scorpio Recycling Superfund site in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Previous metal recycling and battery crushing activities at the site resulted in contamination of the soil with lead and other metals. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause damage to a child’s ability to learn and a range of health problems in adults. Exposure to metals can cause serious health effects. The proposed plan calls for consolidating contaminated soil from the site into two controlled areas and covering it to reduce people’s potential exposure.

      The EPA will hold a public meeting on August 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm to discuss the proposed plan and is encouraging public participation and comments. The meeting will be held at the Basketball Court of the Urbanizacion Altagracia, Calle 6 esquina Calle Pelicano,Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Comments will be accepted until September 6, 2013.

      Scorpio Recycling, Inc. was a metals recycling company that operated from 1972 until 2010. The Scorpio Recycling, Inc. Superfund site was added to the Superfund list in 1999 because high concentration of heavy metals and other contaminants were found in the soil and ground water.

      Under the EPA plan, contaminated soil that poses a potential risk to people’s health will be moved and consolidated into two areas. A clean soil or gravel cover will be placed over the contaminated soil in the two areas, which includes a conservation area and an industrial area. The soil cover will be placed on the conservation area and the gravel cover will be placed on the industrial area.

      Long-term monitoring will ensure that the cover prevents direct contact with underlying waste. The proposed cleanup plan also requires new deed restrictions that will prevent activities that could disturb the cover and prohibit any future on-site residential construction. The EPA will conduct a review every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

      The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. After sites are placed on the Superfund list of the most contaminated waste sites, the EPA searches for parties responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. In this instance, the EPA was unable to identify a viable party to pay the cleanup costs. The EPA estimates the cost of this cleanup will be about $3 million.

      Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:
      Adalberto Bosque, PhD
      Remedial Project Manager
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      City View Plaza II Suite 7000
      #48 PR-165 Km. 1.2
      Guaynabo, PR 00968-8069
Telephone: (787) 977-5825