An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

News Releases

News Releases from Region 02

EPA Proposes Cleanup for Groundwater Contamination at Superfund Site in San German, Puerto Rico

07/18/2019
Contact Information: 
Brenda Reyes (reyes.brenda@epa.gov)
787-977-5869

San German, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a cleanup plan to address contaminated groundwater located in the surrounding areas of the Retiro Industrial Park in the San German Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site in San German, Puerto Rico. Sampling at the site showed that public water supply wells, soil, and groundwater are contaminated with volatile organic compounds. Under the proposal, EPA will apply non-hazardous additives to treat the groundwater and break down the contaminants, allowing the contaminants to naturally decline.

"EPA’s cleanup plan will comprehensively address the lingering groundwater contamination at this site to go along with our previous steps to protect people’s health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “This plan reflects EPA’s commitment to prioritize the Superfund program and ensure that these sites are cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.”

EPA is proposing applying non-hazardous additives to treat the groundwater and break down the contaminants and allow them to breakdown naturally. The specific types of additives to be used will be determined by the EPA as part of the design of the cleanup. Throughout the cleanup, EPA will monitor, test and further study the groundwater to ensure the effectiveness of the remedy. The plan would also require restrictions on the use of groundwater in the area. EPA would conduct a review of the cleanup every 5 years to ensure its effectiveness. In addition, the EPA is assessing whether vapors from the groundwater and soil may have gotten into buildings on and near the site. EPA will install ventilation systems to eliminate vapors in buildings where needed. Under the proposed plan, the estimated cost of cleanup is $17.3 million. 

The EPA will hold a public meeting to explain the proposed plan on July 30, 2019, at 5 p.m. at Santa Marta Basketball Court, Parque de Santa Marta, Carr. 102 Km 32.9 Interior, Urbanizacion Santa Marta San German, Puerto Rico. Written comments will be accepted until August 11, 2019.

Written comments on the EPA's proposed plan may be mailed or emailed to:

Adalberto Bosque, PhD, MBA, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, City View Plaza II - Suite 7000, 48 RD, 165 Km. 1.2, Guaynabo, PR 00968-8069, telephone: 787-977-5825, email: bosque.adalberto@epa.gov

Background

The San German Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site includes the Retiro Industrial Park and adjacent areas. Over 44 nearby industrial sites were part of the EPA's investigation. After discovering the contamination, the Puerto Rico Department of Health ordered the wells closed in 2006. Area residents are connected to safe sources of drinking water from other municipal water supplies in the area. The cleanup of the site has been divided into two phases. The first phase, which is being designed, addressed contaminated soil and highly contaminated groundwater below the water table because they act as an ongoing source of contamination for a broader area of groundwater. The second phase deals with contamination of groundwater throughout the site and is the subject of the present proposed plan.

The cleanup proposal is available at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/san-german-groundwater and at the mayor’s office at the Municipality of San German City Hall.

The Superfund program is a top priority for EPA and the agency is making strides in accelerating sites through remediation and back to productive use by implementing the Superfund Task Force Recommendations. For more information about EPA’s Superfund Task Force: 

https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/eparegion2

19-060