News Releases from Region 02
EPA Finalizes Cleanup Plan for Pesticides Storage Facility in Manati, Puerto Rico
MANATI, Puerto Rico - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a cleanup plan to address contaminated groundwater in Manati, Puerto Rico at the Pesticide Warehouse III Superfund Site. Historical pesticide operations at the site contaminated the soil and groundwater with pesticides. Under the interim Record of Decision, EPA will require, among other steps, the continued maintenance and monitoring of existing treatment systems that currently provide water to several industries near the site to ensure that the concentrations of contamination do not exceed protective levels.
"EPA previously issued a plan to address contaminated soil at this site. Now we are moving ahead with a Record of Decision to address the groundwater contamination to protect people’s health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “This plan reflects EPA’s commitment to the Manati community as we work with our partners to ensure that our comprehensive cleanup of this site is implemented and is effective.”
Because of the nature and complexity of the contamination at the site, EPA divided the cleanup into two phases. The decision announced today is the second of the two phases of the cleanup.
The first phase focused on addressing the most heavily contaminated soil by digging it up and treating it using a technology that heats the material so that contaminants can be pulled out and captured before being disposed of in a landfill. The soil that is removed will be replaced with clean soil. The first phase is being designed.
The second phase deals with contamination of groundwater throughout the site and is the subject of the present Record of Decision. The decision requires the periodic collection and analysis of groundwater samples to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining, along with continued monitoring and maintenance, as necessary, of existing well treatment systems. This action is an interim remedy until the soil cleanup is implemented, and its effectiveness can be determined. Data will also be collected to assess if natural processes are effectively reducing the levels of contaminants before issuing a final cleanup plan for the groundwater. The Record of Decision also requires restrictions on the use of groundwater in the area. EPA will conduct a review of the cleanup every 5 years to ensure its effectiveness. Under the Record of Decision, the estimated cost of the cleanup is $3 million.
The Pesticide Warehouse III site is a 2-acre former pesticides facility owned and operated by the Puerto Rico Land Authority from 1954 to 1996 to handle pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Residents of Manati are currently connected to safe sources of drinking water from other municipal water supplies in the region.
EPA held a public meeting in August 2019 to explain its cleanup proposal, discuss the other cleanup options that were considered, and to solicit public comments. To read the EPA’s selected cleanup plan, outlined in the Record of Decision, and to view EPA’s responses to public comments in the Responsiveness Summary, please visit: The interim Record of Decision is available at www.epa.gov/superfund/pesticide-warehouse-3
For information about Superfund and the NPL: https://www.epa.gov/superfund