EPA Proposes to Add Roswell, NM, Groundwater Plume to National Priorities List of
Five hazardous waste sites added, seven proposed nationally
(DALLAS – Sept. 28, 2015) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to add the Lea and West Second Street Groundwater Plume site in Roswell, NM, to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, a list of sites that pose risks to people’s health and the environment. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and converts them into productive community resources by eliminating or reducing public health risks and environmental contamination.
The site lies in central Roswell near the intersection of N. Lea Ave. and W. 2nd St. The site contains groundwater and soil contaminated with tetrachloroethylene, or PERC, as well as trichloroethylene and other volatile organic compounds. Sources of contamination include two areas of soil associated with former dry-cleaning operations, a former in-ground concrete separator tank, and a groundwater plume.
“Making communities safer and healthier is the number-one goal at Superfund cleanups,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “By addressing this contamination, we can reduce risks for Roswell families and promote future economic development.”
If not addressed, the plume could threaten drinking water sources for Roswell residents. Tetrachloroethylene is considered a potential human carcinogen. Animal studies have shown exposure over long periods could cause other effects in the liver and kidneys and changes in brain chemistry.
EPA regularly works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site, and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For the newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the extent of the contamination before assessing how best to treat it.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the enactment of the Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program. Superfund’s passage was a giant step forward in cleaning up legacy industrial waste sites to help ensure human health and environmental protection. The Superfund law gives EPA the authority to clean up releases of hazardous substances and directs EPA to update the NPL at least annually. The NPL contains the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing both enforcement actions and long-term EPA Superfund cleanup funding; only sites on the NPL are eligible for such funding.
Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites:
Information about how a site is listed on the NPL:
Superfund sites in local communities:
More information about the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, can be found at: