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EPA assigns $12M to clean up former pesticide storage facility in Manatí

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced it has assigned $12 million to remediate some 2 acres of land in Manatí formerly used as a pesticide warehouse.

The EPA will be addressing the most heavily contaminated soil of the Superfund site by digging it up and treating it using a technology that heats the material so that contaminants can be pulled out and captured before being disposed of in a landfill. That phase will consume $9.9 million of the allocation, the agency confirmed.

The soil that is removed will be replaced with clean soil, the agency said.

In a second phase of work, the EPA will pump another $3 million and will require, among other steps, the continued maintenance and monitoring of existing treatment systems that currently provide water to several industries near the site to ensure that the concentrations of contamination do not exceed protective levels.

“With this determination by EPA, the Island continues to take a significant step forward toward the recovery of its groundwater,” said Rafael Machargo-Maldonado, secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER).

“At the DNER, as well as at EPA, we take care every day to maintain the best possible environmental quality. The cleanup plans for the Manatí Pesticide Warehouse III Superfund Site, endorsed by the DNER, show us the effectiveness of the government’s joint efforts. We see today, again, how the result of these efforts achieves that high purpose.”

The Manatí site is one of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites that will benefit from a $1 billion global investment that the federal agency is making under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to start cleanup work at the contaminated areas.

The Manatí site is an inactive pesticide storage facility that consisted of a main warehouse, a smaller warehouse, and a small shed, which contained an on-site well.

The facility operated from 1954 to February 2003, when it was relocated. The Puerto Rico Land Authority owned the facility. Site operations included the storage and preparation of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Part of the warehouse was also reportedly used for pineapple processing and canning by private firm Agrocampos.

EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in April 2003. In June 2003, a fire consumed the facility.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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