Apr 02, 2019

New Mexico Environment Department Receives Grant

The EPA has given the New Mexico Environment Department a $350,000 grant for cleanup of a cleaning business that left behind toxic chemicals

The EPA has given the New Mexico Environment Department a $350,000 grant for cleanup of a cleaning business that left behind toxic chemicals

In Roswell, N.M., an old dry cleaning business left behind toxic chemicals after closing up shop. This caused the site to be declared a U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) Superfund site.

According to Irrigation & Green Industry, the site includes spots where dry cleaners had operated from 1956 to 1963, contaminating soil, soil vapor, indoor air and groundwater with tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene. The PCE plume extends over two miles to the southeast of the 1100 block of Main Street in Roswell.

A five-year review of the site by the EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) that was completed in September of 2017 found that the leading edge of the groundwater plume has expanded about 2,200 ft further to the southeast of the dry‐cleaning area since 2008. According to Irrigation & Green Industry, the EPA recommended that a public information campaign be conducted to notify well owners and users of well water in the area. It also was recommended that private wells in and around the groundwater plume area should be sampled for these contaminants.

“Cleaning up contaminated sites is central to EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment,” said Anne Idsal, Regional Administrator. “This grant further empowers the state of New Mexico and the city of Roswell to lead this effort at the McGaffey and Main site.”

According to Irrigation & Green Industry, the funding will allow NMED to lead the cleanup effort while involving other state and local partners.It will also allow them to consult with the EPA before, during or after the cleanup in the interests of protecting human health and the environment. The money will supplement remedial activities related to the cleanup and go toward paying for the work of characterizing the type and scope of the contamination.

“New Mexicans living in Roswell deserve to see this site cleaned up in a scientifically sound and timely manner,” said James Kenney, New Mexico Environment Department Secretary. “Securing federal funding is a critical piece of ensuring that happens.”

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