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EPA Encourages the Public to Comment on Proposed Cleanup Plan for Cidra, Puerto Rico Superfund Site; Proposed Plan Will Address Contaminated Soil and Ground Water; Dec. 4 Public Meeting Announced

Release Date: 11/27/2013
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov; Mary Mears, (212) 637-3673, mears.mary@epa.gov; Brenda Reyes, (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov


    (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to clean up contaminated soil and ground water at the Cidra Ground Water Contamination site in Cidra, Puerto Rico. The site includes portions of the commercial district and an industrial park in Cidra. The EPA’s plan calls for a combination of cleanup technologies within distinct areas of the site, specifically a dry cleaner business and a vacant property owned by Ramallo Brothers Printing, Inc., to protect people’s health and the environment.

    Ground water at the site is contaminated with harmful volatile organic compounds, which are often found in paint, solvents, aerosol sprays, cleaners, disinfectants, automotive products, dry cleaning fluids, and printing operations. Some volatile organic compounds can cause cancer. The extent and nature of potential health effects depend on many factors, including the level and length of exposure to the pollution.

    Four public drinking water supply wells at the site had to be taken out of service because they were contaminated. There are 15 active drinking water wells located within four miles of the site, serving a total population of over 8,000 people. Area residents are currently connected to safe sources of drinking water from other municipal water supplies in the area.

    “Protecting people’s drinking water is a top priority for the EPA, and this plan calls for actions that will address the contaminated soil and ground water that contaminated people’s drinking water,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The EPA encourages the public to attend the Cidra public meeting and share their views on this proposed plan.”

    The EPA will hold a public meeting on December 4, 2013 to explain the proposed plan and is encouraging public comments. The meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Cidra city hall, third floor, calle Antonio R. Barcelo # 47. Comments will be accepted until December 20, 2013.

    The EPA added the Cidra site to the Superfund list in 2004. The EPA conducted an in-depth investigation of the extent of the contamination in order to determine how best to clean it up over the long term.

    The proposed cleanup plan mainly consists of three sections:

    International Dry Cleaners area – The EPA is proposing to use a soil vapor extraction treatment system to reduce the volatile organic compounds in the soil. This method removes harmful chemicals from soil by extracting them in vapor form with a vacuum and then filtering the vapors through carbon filters to remove contaminants.

    Ramallo Brothers Printing, Inc. soil area – The plan includes removing and disposing of contaminated soil from a portion of the site and backfilling the area with clean soil. The EPA is also proposing to use a soil vapor extraction treatment system in portions of this area. Additionally, harmful chemicals in the soil will be treated with heat to move them through soil toward wells, where they will be collected and piped to the ground surface to be treated using additional cleanup methods. The EPA will also place a cover or cap over soil in parts of the industrial area to keep rainwater out.

    Ramallo Brothers Printing, Inc. ground water area – In certain underground areas of the site, the EPA will inject chemicals into the ground water to promote the breakdown of the pollutants. The specific process to be used to inject the chemical additives will be determined by the EPA as part of the design of the cleanup. Once the process has begun, the EPA will collect samples to confirm that the treatment is effective. In certain areas that may be difficult to access, the EPA may bring the polluted ground water to the surface where it can be treated. The EPA is also proposing to periodically collect and analyze ground water samples to verify that the levels of the contaminants are declining.

    In addition, the EPA is proposing to place restrictions on how the land may be used in order to limit people’s exposure to contaminated ground water and soil.

    During soil and groundwater cleanup activities, monitoring, testing and further studies will be conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup. 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 legally responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. The EPA has identified Ramallo Brothers Printing, Inc. as a party potentially responsible for a portion of the site. The EPA estimates the cost of this cleanup will be about $12.9 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