Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA Adds Roswell Site to Federal Cleanup Priorities List

Release Date: 9/6/2002
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the McGaffey and Main Groundwater Plume site in Roswell, New Mexico, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) announced today.  

      A chemical used in dry cleaning operations has been detected in the aquifers underlying a portion of downtown Roswell and poses a potential threat to municipal and private drinking water sources. Because of the listing, EPA can now begin to clean up the site.

      "Listing this site is an important first step in ensuring that public health and the environment will be protected. The EPA and the NMED are committed to work together to clean up this site quickly and efficiently," EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

      NMED Secretary John R. D'Antonio Jr. said, "The Environment Department is supporting the EPA's investigation and cleanup work at sites such as this one. Continued cooperation between our agencies is essential to clean up contaminated properties, particularly those threatening the state's limited water resources."

      The site is near the intersection of McGaffey and South Main streets in Roswell. The area around the site is primarily occupied by commercial and industrial companies, although residential areas are located to the south.  

      Perchloroethylene (PCE) has been detected in the groundwater and poses a potential threat to municipal and private drinking water supplies. The Superfund project will remove the contamination from PCE to acceptable levels.  

      PCE may have been discharged behind a former dry cleaning facility that operated from 1956 until 1963 at the South Main Street location.  

      Chlorinated solvents such as PCE are heavier than water and readily sink in groundwater; very small amounts of these chemicals can contaminate large volumes of soil and groundwater.

      The NMED discovered the PCE groundwater plume in November 1994 and has monitored for contamination levels subsequently. In 2000, NMED detected PCE in groundwater samples collected from 13 of 16 private groundwater wells down-gradient of the site. PCE contamination has been identified throughout the shallow alluvial aquifer for approximately a mile southeast of the site.

      The EPA Superfund program works closely with state agencies to clean and restore uncontrolled contaminated properties. Superfund cleans sites when the work required is beyond the resources of state and local agencies.

      More information about this site is available on the EPA web site at