EPA Reaches Agreement for Remedial Investigation at San Mateo Creek Basin Site in New Mexico
DALLAS – (Nov. 8, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached an agreement with three potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to begin remedial investigation work at the San Mateo Creek Basin Legacy Uranium Mines site, comprised of former uranium mines in McKinney and Cibola Counties in western New Mexico. The agreement fulfills a goal of EPA’s Superfund Task Force, which placed the site on the Administrator’s Emphasis List of sites targeted for immediate and intense action.
The Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent requires the PRPs to investigate groundwater contamination in the Central Study Area of the site, north of the Homestake Mine Superfund site. The agreement also commits the PRPs to pay response costs EPA incurs in the future, starting with a payment of $700,000.
In 2018, EPA completed a two-phase groundwater investigation that documented impacts from historic mine water discharge throughout the site, including some private wells in the lower basin. Work requirements outlined in the agreement comprise a remedial investigation/feasibility study for the site that will more thoroughly characterize this contamination in the Central Study Area. During this phase, PRPs will collect data about site conditions, study the nature and extent of contamination, assess risk to human health and the environment, and evaluate potential options for cleaning up the site.
The agreement also requires the PRPs to pay EPA’s costs incurred during future response activities at the site, including an initial payment of $700,000. The PRPs also agreed to secure financial assurance for the $15 million estimated cost of the work. PRPs must also provide a technical assistance plan for up to $50,000 for a qualified community group to hire a technical advisor.
The Central Study Area is one of three major areas of the San Mateo Creek Basin Legacy Uranium Mines site. EPA intends to negotiate separate settlements with PRPs to perform similar work in other areas of the site to achieve a comprehensive, site-wide remedial characterization of the San Mateo Creek Basin.
More on San Mateo Creek Basin: https://www.epa.gov/grants-mining-district/san-mateo-creek-basin
More on EPA’s work in New Mexico: https://www.epa.gov/nm
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