Sites in Reuse in New Mexico
Cal West Metals (USSBA)
From approximately 1961 to 1972, the Cal West Metals facility operated as a cotton gin facility. Cal West Metals also operated as a small-scale battery recycling facility and secondary lead smelter. From 1979 to 1981, the facility processed an estimated 20,000 automobile batteries to recover lead, plastics and hard rubber components for commercial sale. The owners declared bankruptcy in 1985 and Small Business Administration (SBA) foreclosed on the property. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989. EPA led cleanup actions at the site in 1994 and 1995. Cleanup actions included excavation, treatment and on-site disposal of approximately 45,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils, sediments and source waste materials. In 1996, the New Mexico Environment Department initiated the site’s ground water monitoring program. In December 1996, EPA deleted the site from the NPL. In 1997, the City of Socorro bought the site property. In October 2005, the City placed a restrictive covenant on the site to prevent future land use or excavation in the area of the repository cell. In September 2008, the city began leasing the site to a tenant that repairs diesel engines and heavy equipment.
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Chevron Questa Mine
The Chevron Questa Mine Superfund site, formerly Molycorp, Inc., is located in and near the village of Questa in Taos County, New Mexico. The site includes a molybdenum mine and milling facility located on three square miles of land and tailing ponds located on approximately one and a half square miles of land. Chevron Mining Inc. (CMI), formerly Molycorp, Inc., currently owns and operates the mine and milling facility. A nine-mile long pipeline running along State Highway 38 connects the milling facility to the tailings ponds. Mining operations began at the mine in 1920. From 1965 until 1983, operators conducted open pit mining, resulting in over 328 million tons of potentially acid-generating waste rock that operators placed into nine piles surrounding the open pit. CMI is currently performing mining underground. Operators have disposed over 100 million tons of tailing at the tailing ponds. EPA re-proposed the Molycorp, Inc. site to EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) in March 2011 after initially proposing it in 2000. EPA placed the site on the NPL in September 2011. As part of the listing, EPA changed the name of the site from Molycorp, Inc. to the Chevron Questa Mine site based on comments received during the public comment period. EPA selected the site’s remedy in a December 20, 2010 Record of Decision. EPA is negotiating with CMI to perform the cleanup. CMI has agreed to begin conducting removal actions at the site in 2012. In conjunction with the remedial action planning at the site, in May 2010 Chevron Technology Ventures began constructing a concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) facility on a 20-acre portion of the on-site mill tailings area. The CPV facility’s 175 solar panels automatically track the path of the sun and produce up to one megawatt of energy, enough to power 500-600 homes. The facility has been operational since February 2011. Kit Carson Electric Cooperative is purchasing the electricity under a 20-year agreement. This solar project will also include an evaluation of various soil cover depths to help facilitate the closure of the mill tailings area at the end of mining operations. The site is now home to the largest CPV facility in the United States and this reuse provides a source of clean renewable power as well as new jobs throughout the region.
For more information:
- Chevron Questa Mine Reuse Success Story (PDF) (1 pg, 128K, About PDF)
- CERCLIS Superfund Site Profile
Fruit Avenue Plume
The Fruit Avenue Plume Superfund site is a chlorinated solvent ground water plume located beneath a portion of downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. Between 1924 and 1958, a local business owner operated Sunshine Laundry on property above the current plume area. In 1940, the owner expanded his laundry services to include a dry-cleaning service. From 1940 until 1972, workers at Elite Cleaners, the new dry-cleaning facility, used the Stoddard solvent cleaning process, which involved underground solvent tanks. These property parcels and other adjacent lands changed owners several times after the dry-cleaning facility’s operation, but site investigators determined the historic dry-cleaning processes were the cause of ground water contamination. In April 1989, the City of Albuquerque conducted routine sampling at a nearby bottling company’s supply well and found chlorinated solvents in the ground water. Upon further investigation, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in October 1999 and selected a site remedy, including soil vapor extraction, hot spot treatment, implementation institutional controls and implementation of a pump-and-treat remedy for shallow, intermediate and deep zone ground water restoration. Remedial crews completed the construction of the remedy in December 2006. Collaborative efforts between New Mexico Environment Department, EPA and a local developer, have helped return the site property to use. Stakeholder coordination allowed the developer to begin construction on a new a green housing development. These new, affordable housing units exceed the baseline Green Communities Criteria set by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a national non-profit organization. Green features include solar power and rooftop rainwater collection systems.
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The South Valley Superfund site is located in a mostly industrial area in the southern portion of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Investigators first documented site-related contamination in a nearby municipal well. Subsequent investigations identified contamination in soil and ground water at the site resulting from manufacturing practices in the area. The site includes two main portions: the former Air Force Plant 83 Site and the Univar Site. The Plant 83 Site consisted of two facilities: North Plant 83 Area located north of Woodward Road, demolished in October 1997, and South Plant 83 Area, demolished in 2011. Beginning in the 1950s, various companies had operated the manufacturing facilities in these areas, including General Electric Aviation starting in 1984. Companies have used the Univar Site for various industrial and commercial purposes since the 1960s. Since 1985, Univar USA, Inc., an industrial and specialty chemicals distribution company, has been active at the Univar Site. EPA placed the South Valley site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983. Cleanup actions at the former Air Force Plant 83 Site have included ground water treatment and soil vapor extraction. Ground water treatment and monitoring continue. Cleanup actions at the Univar Site include ongoing ground water treatment. Bernalillo County has developed plans for the construction of an arterial roadway connection with Interstate-25 and the Albuquerque airport that will cross the site. The county anticipates that the roadway will ease area traffic congestion and open up land to attract new businesses to the area. In 2011, EPA selected this site as a Return to Use Demonstration Project to address roadway project development barriers related to the ongoing Superfund cleanup. Also in 2011, after GE Electric Aviation closed its jet engine component manufacturing plant on the South Plant 83 Area, the company committed to recycling or reusing all usable building materials accrued from the demolition of the facility. This effort saved the company from sending over 14,000 tons of building materials to local landfills and significantly reduced demolition costs.
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