Aug 13, 2015

EPA Releases Plan to Address Pollution at San German Toxic Site

The public is invited to comment at a meeting on Aug. 19

EPA Puerto Rico San German Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a plan to address contaminated soil and groundwater at 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 were contaminated with volatile organic compounds, including perchloroethylene (PCE), a widely used solvent in industrial processes. Exposure to PCE can have serious health impacts, including liver damage and increased risk of cancer.

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.

EPA will hold a public meeting to explain the proposed plan Aug. 19, 2015, at 6 p.m. at Santa Marta Basketball Court, Parque de Santa Marta, Carr. 102 Km 32.9 Interior, Urbanizacion Santa Marta San German. Written comments will be accepted until Sept. 11, 2015.

The San German Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site includes the Retiro Industrial Park and adjacent areas. More than 44 nearby industrial sites were part of EPA’s investigation. The cleanup of the site has been divided into two phases. The first phase addresses contaminated soil and shallow, highly contaminated groundwater, 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.

The proposed plan addresses the areas that are the potential source of PCE contamination in the soil and groundwater. EPA is proposing a combination of systems that use pumps and other methods to remove pollutants from the most contaminated areas of soil and groundwater. Prior to installing these systems, EPA will conduct a study to determine exactly how the system should be designed.

EPA also will determine if the site needs to install caps on portions of the land to limit the ability of rainwater to soak into the ground. Throughout the process, it will monitor the groundwater and soil to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup plan.

In addition, EPA is investigating whether vapors from the groundwater and soil may have gotten into buildings on and near the site. This investigation is ongoing and EPA will install ventilation systems in buildings where needed.

Written comments on the proposed plan may be mailed or emailed to: Adalberto Bosque, Ph.D., 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: [email protected].