Papelera Puertorriqueña Inc.
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EPA proposed the addition of Papelera Puertorriqueña Inc. (PPI) to the National Priority List (NPL) on April 9, 2009. This site has been proposed to the NPL due to the discharge of wastewater containing benzene, toluene, tetrachloroethylene (PCE), ethyl benzene, and trichloroethylene (TCE) from the facility into the Viví River and surrounding areas.
Many businesses and at least eight schools are in close proximity to the site. Several residences, separated from the facility by the Viví River, are located along the river bend, 200 feet from PPI.
PPI has been at this location for approximately 42 years manufacturing paper bags, cardboard boxes, and plastic bags of different sizes. Other paper-based products are stored on site and distributed by PPI. The company began to manufacture paper bags in 1960 under the name Puerto Rico Paper, Inc. In 1981, it began manufacturing plastic bags under the name All Plastic Products, Inc. Currently, PPI is part of the "Empresas Rios" Corporation, responsible for operations of Puerto Rico Paper, Inc. (paper bags manufacturer), Metropolitan Paper (importer of paper-based products such as gift wraps), and All Plastic Products, Inc. (plastic bag manufacturer). In March 1998, the PPI facility discharged wastewater containing benzene, toluene, tetrachloroethylene (PCE), ethyl benzene, and trichloroethylene (TCE) to the Viví River, causing a fish kill. The Viví River flows one mile into Rio Grande de Arecibo and then into Dos Bocas Lake, a drinking water reservoir and fishery.
In November 2005, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (PREQB) Superfund Preliminary Assessment and Site Inspection Division conducted a site inspection at PPI. The inspection identified numerous holes in the facility though which hazardous substances and inks used in the manufacturing process could migrate. Containers and drums in poor condition were leaking onto the facility floor.
A 2008 follow-up inspection was conducted to determine current conditions of the facility. The drums previously observed by PREQB had been removed. Black, green, and dark blue discharges were observed seeping from the facility onto the exterior ground surface and to drainage ditches running to the Viví River. PREQB also observed green discharges from PPI into the Viví River.