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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Announces Clean-Up Plan for Donna Canal and Reservoir Site in South Texas

10/01/2018
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant (R6Press@epa.gov)
214 665-2200

DALLAS – (Oct. 1, 2018) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Donna Canal and Reservoir Superfund site in Donna, Hidalgo Co., Texas. The ROD includes the remedy, or final clean-up plan, for the site, which contains fish and sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The remedy calls for removing contaminated sediment and fish and building new infrastructure at the source of the contamination, among other measures. These actions will address risks to people’s health associated with eating fish from the reservoir and canal system.

“The community around the Donna Canal and Reservoir system has lived with the burden of PCB contamination for too long,” said Regional Administrator Anne Idsal. “EPA’s final remedy will address the health risks from contaminated sediment and fish and help keep families safe.”

The site was placed on the National Priorities List in 2008, after several decades of work by EPA and state partners to address PCB contamination and prevent people from eating the contaminated fish. The likely source of contamination is a large concrete siphon that makes up part of the pathway for water to flow from the canal to the reservoir. An important part of the remedy involves removing 20,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the canal to be disposed of at an off-site facility and constructing a new siphon. In addition, fish will be removed from identified contaminated sections of the site annually for five years to prevent people from catching and consuming them.

PCBs are a mixture of individual chemicals no longer produced in the United States, but are still found in the environment. Health effects include acne-like skin conditions in adults and nervous and immune system changes in children. PCBs are known to cause cancer in animals. Since contamination was discovered in the early 1990s, EPA and state and local partners have worked to find the source and prevent community members from eating fish caught in the canal and reservoir system.

After establishing the likely contamination source in early 2018, EPA developed a proposed plan for cleanup. The plan was released for a 30-day public review and comment in May 2018. The ROD establishes the final decision for the site’s cleanup remedy, as well as requirements for future maintenance of cleanup standards.

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Superfund Task Force. In May 2017 EPA established a task force to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency's core mission to protect health and the environment. epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force.