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Vega Baja Solid Waste Disposal Site
Vega Baja, PR

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Your Community
Involvement Coordinator

Brenda Reyes – (787) 977 – 5869
Reyes.brenda@epa.gov

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Vega Baja Solid Waste Disposal Site in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico is a 15 acre superfund site located in Rio Abajo Ward contained a solid wastes disposal and open burning facility that received commercial, industrial, and domestic waste.  More than 1.1 million cubic yards of waste were disposed of and/or burned at the facility.  EPA conducted extensive sampling at the site and found lead, arsenic and pesticides in the soil and groundwater. 

In the late 1970’s, local residents began building homes on portions of the uncapped waste disposal area.  The population within a one mile radius of the site is approximately 6,900.  The Rio Abajo Head State is the nearest school located approximately 0.2 mile from the site.   

In 1998, EPA declared the Vega Baja site as an immediate threat to human health and the environment.  EPA performed a removal assessment, which concluded in a time critical removal action in 2001.  EPA cleaned up three residential lots that had high levels of lead in their soil.  EPA added the Vega Baja Solid Waste Disposal site to the Superfund National Priorities List on July 22, 1999.  The site was divided in two areas, one addressing the ground water contamination and the other addressing the soil.  In 2000, EPA conducted a study to define the nature and extent of the site-related contamination in the groundwater.  The investigation was completed in 2002.  Ground water beneath the site is essentially free of site-related contaminations and surface water is unaffected by the site.  EPA concluded that there was no threat posed to human health or the environment and that there was no need for further actions related to ground water.  However, EPA completed negotiations with all potentially responsible parties to continue the investigation to define the nature and extent of soil contamination.  The parties agreed to conduct a study to find the nature and extent of soil contamination at the site.  The study will be concluded by December 2008.  A cleanup plan will be formulated based off the study’s results. 


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