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Las Cruces Site Proposed to Federal Superfund List

Release Date: 1/11/2001
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to add the Griggs & Walnut Ground Water Plume site in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The solvent perchloroethylene (PCE) has been detected above health-based maximum contaminant levels in groundwater monitoring wells in the Santa Fe Group aquifer, which is the primary source of drinking, agricultural and industrial water for the city of Las Cruces.

     "Adding this site to the Superfund list makes federal dollars available, allowing EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department to speed their cleanup and meet the agencies' commitment to protecting public health and our environment," EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

     The city of Las Cruces water supply system is in compliance with the New Mexico Water Supply Regulations. Las Cruces uses 28 municipal supply wells to provide drinking water to approximately 83,000 individuals.  

     Routine sampling of municipal supply wells identified the presence of PCE beginning in 1995. An investigative ground water study by the New Mexico Environment Department showed PCE at levels above the standard in seven out of 10 monitoring wells.

     PCE is a man-made substance widely used for dry cleaning fabrics and textiles and for metal degreasing operations. It is also used as a starting material (building block) for the production of other man-made chemicals. The source of the PCE contamination underlying Las Cruces has not been established.

     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.

     EPA will seek public comments for 60 days on adding this site to the NPL. Those comments will be addressed before the Agency makes the final decision about adding the site to the NPL. During this public comment period, the Agency will continue to develop cleanup plans so that actual work may begin as quickly after NPL listing as possible.

     Send comments by March 12, 2001, to Docket Coordinator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CERCLA Docket Office (Mail Code 5201 G), Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, 703.603.9232.

     Comments may also be submitted by express mail. Send original and three copies of comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters, U.S. EPA, CERCLA Docket Office, 1235 Jefferson Davis Highway, Crystal Gateway #1, First Floor, Arlington, VA 22202, or by e-mail in ASCII format only to

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