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EPA Proposes Contaminated Site in Manati for the Federal Superfund National Priorities List

Release Date: 09/04/2002
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(#02089) SAN JUAN, P.R. -- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add an active pesticide processing facility in Manati to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites. The two-acre property, known as Pesticide Warehouse III (PWIII), is currently owned and operated by the Puerto Rico Land Authority (PRLA). It is used to prepare and store pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Soils on the site are contaminated with chemical ingredients used at the facility, including diazinon, malathion, diuron and toxaphene and zinc, a heavy metal. This contamination was also detected in a leach pit on the property.

“This proposal to designate the Pesticide Warehouse property as a Superfund site is an essential step in moving forward to investigate the full extent of the problem. “It is the best way to protect the public from any potential environmental threats,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “The contamination on the site has spread to ground water in the area and, while public water supplies that serve thousands of people have not yet been affected, actions must be taken to eliminate any potential threat to the area’s drinking water,” she added.

The site is located at Road No. 670 in a rural/residential area of Manati. It consists of a main warehouse, a smaller warehouse and shed that contains an on-site well. Surface drainage for the site goes to a drainage ditch that and ends up in the leach pit. The pit is unlined and appears to be a natural sinkhole.

In December 2001, EPA investigated the soil at the site and found that conditions have not improved since inspections conducted between 1996 and 1997.

EPA periodically proposes sites to the NPL, which makes them eligible for federally-funded cleanups, if responsible parties are not identified or viable. There are now 9 NPL sites in Puerto Rico.

The NPL rule, which officially proposes the site listing, will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow. For members of the public interested in obtaining copies of the notice, an updated NPL list or site description, please contact the RCRA/Superfund Hotline at 1-800-424-9346 or 703-412-9810.

Further information on the Superfund program can also be obtained from EPA’s homepage: