Chevron Questa Mine site (formerly Molycorp, Inc. site)
Superfund Redevelopment in Region 6
The Chevron Questa Mine site (formerly known as the Molycorp, Inc. site) in northeastern New Mexico includes an operational, underground mine, mill and tailing disposal facility. Several massive piles of acid-generating waste rock and more than 100 million tons of tailings have contaminated the soil, ground water and surface water, mainly with metals. The Red River, which flows past the site and is home to a cold-water state fish hatchery, has also become contaminated. As a result, the Chevron Questa Mine site was added to the Superfund National Priorities List for federal cleanup in September 2011.
On March 7, 2012, EPA and Chevron Mining Inc. (CMI) reached an agreement for CMI to perform removal actions at the site. These include:
- removing PCB-contaminated soil at the mill area (with off-site treatment/disposal),
- removing historic tailing spill deposits along the Red River riparian corridor,
- removing contaminated sediment at Eagle Rock Lake and installing a storm-water control structure for the lake inlet, and
- lining the eastern diversion channel with piping to prevent the water from coming into contact with tailing material and contaminating the underlying ground water.
Field activities for the removal actions will commence in the summer of 2012. EPA, the State of New Mexico and CMI are continuing to negotiate the next steps in the cleanup.