The Solitron Microwave Site: From Groundwater Contamination to Economic Revitalization
The cleanup of hazardous waste sites can at times appear to be an insurmountable task. Superfund, however, is accomplishing such a feat. On August 6, 2004, EPA achieved its 900th construction completion at the Solitron Microwave Superfund site in Port Salerno, Florida. As of September 30, 2004 (the end of fiscal year 2004), 61% of the 1,529 final or deleted National Priorities List (NPL) sites have achieved construction completion.
The Threat. Solitron Microwave is a 20-acre site that was used for plating and manufacturing processes from 1963 to 1987. From 1991 to August 1998, the Martin County Health Department discovered twelve private wells with contaminant levels higher than drinking water standards. EPA sampling in 1998 confirmed that the groundwater remained contaminated, and the EPA added the Solitron site to the National Priorities List (NPL).
The Remediation. Through a cooperative agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and EPA, Martin County received funding to extend water lines to homes using private wells impacted by site contamination. To date, Martin County has extended water lines to approximately 150 homes located north of the site giving them the opportunity to connect to public water. Under an agreement with the EPA, the Army Corp of Engineers excavated contaminated soil near the rear of the Solitron building. As part of its redevelopment plan, the developer demolished the Solitron building, which had been an eyesore to the Port Salerno community for many years. Additional contaminated soil that had been underneath the building was then excavated. In 2002, the EPA determined that natural processes were eliminating groundwater contamination in areas it had previously planned on cleaning using an in-situ chemical oxidation process. As a result, the EPA will continue to sample groundwater to ensure natural processes reduce contaminants below cleanup standards.
The Accomplishment. Port Salerno will gain a 20-acre industrial park, which will provide 150,000 square feet of warehouse and light industrial space. The Port Salerno Industrial Park will serve as a showcase for builders such as plumbing contractors, electricians, and marble wholesalers. The community will now have a clean and safe location to help revitalize the local economy.