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Varsol Spill

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FLD980602346
Location: Miami, Dade County, FL
Lat/Long: 25.804700, -080.277200
Congressional District: 21
NPL Status: Proposed: 12/30/82; Final: 09/08/83; Deleted: 09/01/88
Affected Media: Ground water
Cleanup Status: Deleted from the NPL
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: Yes
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – public service land uses are located on the site
Site Manager: Brenda Lane (lane.brenda@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Varsol Spill site includes an area of the Miami International Airport where fuel spills occurred starting in 1966. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983 because of contaminated ground water and surface water resulting from these spills. EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Eastern Airlines, the site’s potentially responsible party (PRP), have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. A water line connects residences and businesses to the public water supply. By cleaning up the site, EPA, FDEP and the site’s PRP have protected people and the environment from site contamination.

Site Location and Background

The site includes the northeast section of Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, less than a half-mile mile south of the Lower Miami Springs Municipal Well Field. Residential and commercial land uses border the Miami International Airport and the site.

The site includes the area where, starting in 1966, approximately 15 spills and leaks from airport-related industrial operations released approximately two million gallons of fuel and other materials. In 1983, EPA listed the site on the NPL. Following cleanup activities, EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 1988.

EPA considers the site and two other Superfund sites, the Miami Drum Services site and the Northwest 58th Street Landfill site, as one management unit for site investigation and cleanup activities. The sites lie over the Biscayne Aquifer, which is the sole source of drinking water in southeastern Florida.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water and surface water that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from spills associated with industrial airport operations. Contaminants of concern include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

Eastern Airlines, the site’s PRP, led site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1985, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The ROD recommended that no further action was necessary at the site because investigations could not locate remaining contamination from the fuel spills.

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the ROD.

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Cleanup Progress

In 1971, the PRP installed separator trenches to remove approximately two million gallons of fuel and other materials that had spilled underground. The PRP ended recovery operations in 1973 due to the slow migration of contamination into the trenches. The PRP recovered approximately 133,000 gallons of Varsol, a petroleum substance used to dissolve other substances, between 1971 and 1973.

In 1983, Miami-Dade County installed 43 ground water monitoring wells to determine the extent and magnitude of the spills at the site. Miami-Dade County also installed three recovery wells in the Concourse E area and began ground water recovery operations. Between 1983 and 1984, operations recovered over 102,000 gallons of jet fuel.

In 1985, following site investigations and analyses, EPA determined there was no need for further cleanup action because contamination no longer existed in ground water. EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 1988.

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Enforcement Activities

EPA negotiated legal agreements with the site PRP to investigate the site. The PRP funded site investigation and cleanup activities.

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Community Involvement

EPA worked with the community and its state partner to develop a long-term cleanup plan for the site, reflecting the Agency’s commitment to safe, healthy communities and environmental protection. Community engagement and public outreach are core components of EPA program activities.

EPA conducted a range of community involvement activities to solicit community input and to make sure the public remained informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts included public notices and information meetings.

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Future Work

EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 1988.

EPA does not require Five-Year Reviews for the site.

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Additional Information

EPA keeps additional site documents and information in a site information repository at the location below. EPA also posts site documents, when available, on EPA’s CERCLIS Site Profile page. For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

Site Repository

Metropolitan Dade County
Department of Environment
33 Southwest 2nd Avenue, Suite 800
Miami, FL 33130

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