Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

CAL WEST METALS (USSBA)
LEMITAR, NM

Cleanup Activities

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Background

Current Status

New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is currently maintaining the cap and monitoring the ground water at the site. The fourth Five-Year Review of the remedy for the site was completed June 29, 2015 and found that the completed remedy at the Cal West Metals Superfund Site is protective of human health and the environment. The remedial action is functioning as designed, and the Site has been maintained properly. Following cleanup, EPA took the site off the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1996.

Site Background

The 43.8-acre Cal West Metals (USSBA) site is located in Lemitar, New Mexico. A cotton gin facility operated on site from 1961 to 1972. A battery breaking and recycling facility operated on site from 1979 to 1981. The facility included two evaporation ponds, three facility buildings, earth berms, soil and battery waste piles, a concrete surface pad, and a salvage area. The battery breaking and recycling facility processed about 20,000 automobile batteries to recover lead, plastic and hard rubber components for commercial sale. Operations discharged waste and wastewater to a lined pond, disposed of sludge on the concrete surface pad, and stored piles of crushed battery components outside. Waste disposal practices contaminated soil, sediment and debris.

National Priorities List (NPL) History
Site Hazard Ranking System (HRS) Score: 59.37
Proposed Date: 6/24/88
Final Date: 3/31/89
Final Deletion Date: 12/20/96

Location: 1/2 mile north of Lemitar in Socorro County.

Population: Approximately 1,000 people get drinking water from public and private wells within a 3-mile radius.

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What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal and state actions.

Stabilizing, solidifying and placing solidified material under a concrete cap has protected the water supply from wells for 1,000 people. Following cleanup, local businesses have inquired about the possibility of redeveloping the site for commercial purposes.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The long-term remedy included groundwater monitoring; excavation and treatment using stabilization and solidification of about 45,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, sediment and source waste material; and disposal and capping of treated material on site. Following cleanup, EPA took the site off the NPL.

From 1979 to 1985, state investigations assessed air and groundwater quality on site.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

The site is bounded on the east by a frontage road for U.S. Interstate 25. Land uses in the area are primarily agricultural and residential, with three houses located within 1,100 feet south of the site.

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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.

A Restrictive Covenant was implemented on October 5, 2005 with a notice to not disturb the repository cell. Access controls of fencing and warning signs are in place and are effective in preventing exposure.

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Sampling and Monitoring

Because hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants remain at the site, a Five-Year Review (FYR) is required to be completed to determine if the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. All on-site monitoring wells are sampled and monitored as part of the FYR's.

The first FYR was completed in September 2000; the second FYR was completed in September 2005, the third FYR was completed in September 2010, and the fourth FYR was completed in June 2015. The fourth FYR determined that the remedial action is functioning as designed, and the Site has been maintained properly. No issues or recommendations were identified as part of the fourth FYR. Because the remedial actions at the operable unit are protective, the Site is protective of human health and the environment.

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