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EPA Proposes Arecibo Site for the Superfund List

Release Date: 09/23/2004
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(#04144) NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed to add the Pesticide Warehouse I site in Arecibo, Puerto Rico to its National Priorities List (NPL) of the most hazardous waste sites, making it eligible for federal Superfund dollars.

"It is important for the health of Arecibo residents and site workers that we get this facility cleaned up," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "No one should have to live with the fear that the safety of his or her drinking water is threatened."

Pesticide Warehouse I (PWI) is an active pesticide storage warehouse that began operations at this location in 1953. PWI supplies pesticides for pineapple crops in the surrounding area and is used for the storage and preparation of insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Left-over and excess pesticides have been discharged directly to the ground adjacent to the main warehouse, and poor housekeeping practices have resulted in soil and ground water contamination, including significantly elevated levels of aldrin, endrin, endrin aldehyde, gamma-chlordane, toxaphene, diazinon, diuron, heptachlor epoxide, dieldrin, and 4,4 -DDE. Ground water contamination in the area potentially impacts public supply wells within four miles of the site.

Information obtained from the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) indicates that approximately 48,600 people are served by public supply wells within the four mile surrounding area. Soil contamination in the area also poses a potential threat to workers at PWI.

EPA periodically proposes sites to the NPL and, after responding to public comments, designates proposed sites as final. Sites that are designated as final are eligible for funds to conduct long-term cleanups. The addition of this site would bring the total number of federal Superfund sites in Puerto Rico to 12.