EPA Proposes New Superfund Site in Dorado, Puerto Rico

On April 6th, 2016, the US EPA proposed the addition of the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). Recent sampling at this site has found contamination from tetrachloroethylene (also called perchloroethylene, or PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE), which has spread to drinking water wells that serve approximately 67,000 people in the area.

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Conceptual Design of Proposed Green Remediation Strategy (Click to Enlarge)

Both TCE and PCE are known carcinogens that can also cause other serious adverse health effects. PROTECT Project 2 studies the effects of TCE and other contaminants on birth outcomes, particularly preterm birth and low birth weight. Project 4 researches the fate and transport of TCE and phthalates in karst water systems, while Project 5 focuses on green remediation techniques to remove TCE from these groundwater sources. In March of 2016, Project 5 published two articles pertaining to TCE. One paper, published in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, explored the effects of bipolar electrodes on TCE degradation. The second article appeared in Chemosphere, and looked at the effect of cathode materials on hydrodechlorination (HDC) of TCE.

PROTECT’s research focuses on Superfund sites in Northern Puerto Rico, particularly the Manatí area. Dorado is 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of San Juan on the northern coast, just a few miles from some of the Superfund sites already under PROTECT’s study.

By placing the Dorado site on the Superfund list, the EPA can take steps to locate the source of the contamination and hold those parties legally responsible for cleanup. The EPA has not yet identified the source of the Dorado contamination. This proposed addition is subject to a 60-day comment period prior to formal listing on the NPL.

Click here to read the EPA’s official press release.