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Groundwater Treatment Begins at Albuquerque Superfund Site

Release Date: 1/28/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     Today Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez formally "pressed the button" to start the new groundwater treatment system at the Fruit Avenue Plume Superfund site.  Local officials and community leaders observed as the system began to extract and treat groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents from the aquifer underlying the site.  

     "It's wonderful to see this system in place and working to protect the drinking water supply for Albuquerque residents," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.  "I look forward to the day local leaders and future developers of the downtown business district are no longer distracted by this historic contamination."

     EPA, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and local officials have been working together to coordinate construction activities, groundwater testing and planning for ongoing cleanup at the site.

     NMED Secretary Ron Curry said, "We have taken action today to help protect and restore New Mexico's most precious resource. Ninety percent of our state's drinking water comes from groundwater. This cleanup will help ensure that future generations have a safe supply of clean water to drink."

     Congresswoman Heather Wilson said, "We need to take care of our resources for future generations. Treating this water source is the responsible thing to do to protect our drinking water."

     Mayor Chavez credits the cooperative effort between the city, state and federal government with the successful start of the project.  "We have a long road ahead of us on this very important groundwater protection initiative," he said.  "We are taking the first step today in the actual cleanup and I am confident that we will see this project through to successful completion.  It's important to Albuquerque -- both present and future generations."

     The suspected source of the groundwater contamination is a defunct dry cleaning facility that operated from approximately 1940 to 1970.  Although no wells are currently impacted, two municipal drinking water wells are less than two miles from the site.

     The Fruit Avenue Plume site was added to the National Priorities List in October 1999.  More information about the site is available at