Investigation of Areas of Vieques Begins

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Investigation of Areas of Vieques Begins

For Immediate Release: Monday, January 5, 2004

(04002) Vieques, Puerto Rico -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the beginning of the investigation of areas of eastern Vieques under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). As a part of this investigation, contractors working for the U.S. Navy will be sampling surface and subsurface soil and ground water from 10 newly installed wells. EPA, in cooperation with Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, will oversee the investigation.

The work, which was detailed in Navy work plans that were submitted for public review and comment, is scheduled to begin in January 2004. Contractors will complete the installation of 10 new wells, five at a closed landfill and five at several closed sewage treatment lagoons in areas covered by an EPA Administrative Order under RCRA. Following the installation of the wells, surface and subsurface soil samples will be taken. Finally, the Navy contractors will take samples of the ground water at all 10 wells, as well as four wells installed in 1999. Samples will be analyzed for volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, metals, herbicides, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), explosives and perchlorate.

EPA will also collect soil and ground water samples and conduct independent analyses. The Navy will submit a draft report on the results of the sampling and analysis to EPA and the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (PREQB)approximately 120 days after the sampling is completed. EPA plans to make the draft report available for public review and comment following an internal review.

To view a copy of the RCRA facility investigation work plans, visit our Web site at www.epa.gov/region2/vieques .