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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Adds Contaminated Site in N. M. to Priorities List

Contact Information: 
Joe Hubbard (r6press@epa.gov)
Jennah Durant

DALLAS - (April 6, 2016) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Lea and W. Second Street Groundwater Plume site in Roswell, New Mexico, to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, a list of sites that pose risks to public health and the environment. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and converts them into productive community resources by eliminating or reducing public health risks and environmental contamination.

The site lies in central Roswell near the intersection of N. Lea Ave. and W. Second Street. The site contains groundwater and soil contaminated with tetrachloroethylene, or PERC, as well as trichloroethylene and other volatile organic compounds. Sources of contamination include two areas of soil associated with former dry-cleaning operations, a former in-ground concrete separator tank, and a groundwater plume.

"Every year we identify sites that are serious risks to public health and the environment," said EPA regional administrator Ron Curry. "Cleaning hazardous waste in our communities and returning properties to environmental and economic vitality will improve quality of life for the affected communities."

If not addressed, the plume could threaten drinking water sources for Roswell residents. Tetrachloroethylene is considered a potential human carcinogen. Animal studies have shown exposure over long periods could cause other effects in the liver and kidneys and changes in brain chemistry.

EPA regularly works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site, and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For the newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the extent of the contamination before assessing how best to treat it.

The NPL contains the nation's most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing both enforcement actions and long-term EPA Superfund cleanup funding; only sites on the NPL are eligible for such funding. A site's listing neither imposes a financial obligation on EPA nor assigns liability to any party.

Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

Information about how a site is listed on the NPL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/npl_hrs.htm

Superfund sites in local communities: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/index.htm

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