Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

SOUTH VALLEY
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

Cleanup Activities

On this page:

On related pages:


Background

The 1-square-mile South Valley site is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The site consists of two properties, the Univar site and the former Air Force Plant 83 site (called the GEA site). Chemical distribution and military activities contaminated groundwater with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ground water  cleanup has been on-going since the mid-1990's.

Top of Page


What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal, state and PRP actions.

The most recent review completed in July 2015 concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.

 

Various industrial and commercial operations took place at the Univar site for about 50 years. Several owners used the area to distribute industrial chemicals and sell dry ice, chlorine and ammonia gas. Univar leased the eastern portion of the property for its activities, while other companies occupied the rest of the site.

The other portion of the site is the former Air Force Plant 83 (GEA) site. The Plant 83 facility consisted of two facilities: the North Plant 83 Area, located north of Woodward Road, which was demolished in October 1997, and the South Plant 83 Area, located south of Woodward Road, which was closed in September 2010 and demolished in 2011. Both facilities were used for manufacturing purposes since the 1950s. General Electric Aviation (GEA) has owned the facility since 1984.

Various industrial and commercial operations took place at the Univar site for about 50 years. Several owners used the area to distribute industrial chemicals and sell dry ice, chlorine and ammonia gas. Univar leased the eastern portion of the property for its activities, while other companies occupied the rest of the site.

The other portion of the site is the former Air Force Plant 83 (GEA) site. The Plant 83 facility consisted of two facilities: the North Plant 83 Area, located north of Woodward Road, which was demolished in October 1997, and the South Plant 83 Area, located south of Woodward Road, which was closed in September 2010 and demolished in 2011. Both facilities were used for manufacturing purposes since the 1950s. General Electric Aviation (GEA) has owned the facility since 1984.

Top of Page


What Is the Current Site Status?

Remedy Selected

Univar Site: The long-term remedy included no further action for the vadose zone, and extraction, treatment and monitoring for groundwater.

GEA Site: The long-term remedy included the installation of additional monitoring wells, treatment of extracted air via vapor, and extraction and treatment of groundwater.

Entire Site: The long-term remedy included replacing contaminated municipal water supply wells, plugging private wells, groundwater monitoring and access restrictions.

Cleanup Progress

Univar Site: The groundwater pumping and treatment system extracted and treated about 850 million gallons of groundwater from 1990 to 2006. The system stopped operating in 2006 but may operate again if conditions do not meet cleanup goals. A vapor extraction system (not listed in the remedy, but installed to enhance the groundwater cleanup) operated until 2006. Operation and maintenance activities and monitoring are ongoing.

EPA has conducted several five-year reviews of the site’s remedy. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The most recent review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term. Continued protectiveness of the remedy requires evaluation of 1,4-dioxane in groundwater.  Univar initiated construction of a groundwater recovery system in 2016 to address the 1,4-dioxane in groundwater and this system became operational in February 2018.

GEA Site: The pumping and treatment system for shallow groundwater has been operational since 1994; this portion of the cleanup is now complete. An additional recovery system and treatment plant to address deep groundwater has operated since 1996; cleanup activities with this system are ongoing. The potentially responsible party (PRP) plugged and abandoned contaminated municipal wells in 1994 and demolished buildings at the site in 2011. Excavation and disposal of chromium-contaminated soils finished in 2012. Operation and maintenance activities and monitoring are ongoing.

The most recent review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term. Continued protectiveness of the remedy requires evaluation and coordinated action to address increased levels of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,1-dichloroethylene (DCE).

Entire Site: EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department installed a replacement well in 1981. The PRP plugged and abandoned the VOC-contaminated municipal well in 1994.

Top of Page


Activity and Use Limitations

At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.

For more background, see Institutional Controls.

Activities completed on the South Plant 83 area resulted in some contamination left in place which resulted in GEA filing a Declaration of Restrictive Covenants on September 9, 2014, in the Bernalillo County property records.  The deed restriction identified five areas where semi-volatile organic compounds or hexavalent chromium contamination remain about industrial soil screening levels.  The deed restriction also contained the following: identification of the abandoned sanitary sewer lines and existing sewer line locations; restriction that the property use is liminted to commercial and industrial; restriction that groundwater beneath the site cannot be used; and engineered barriers must remain in place on portions of the property where semi-volatile organic compounds and hexavalent chromium remain above industrial soil screening levels.

Top of Page


Emergency Response and Removal

The City of Albuquerque removed VOC-contaminated wells from service in 1981. EPA divided site cleanup activities into three phases to address two areas of contamination and sitewide issues.

Top of Page