U.S. Water News Online
SANTA FE -- The New Mexico State Environment Department has
finished work on a groundwater remediation system that will treat
contamination at a Superfund site in Espanola.
The department said it plans to implement the system soon.
The North Railroad Avenue plume, contaminated with
perchloroethylene (PCE), is three quarters of a mile long and
260-feet deep. It stretches from North Railroad Avenue south to the
The $4 million project will use two in-situ bioremediation systems
to destroy PCE contaminants in the high concentration source area and
deep zone aquifer. A third in-situ bioremediation system down grade
will prevent contamination from reaching the Rio Grande.
State Environment Secretary Ron Curry said the state took the lead
on the project but had cooperation from the city of Espanola, Santa
Clara Pueblo and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"It is teamwork like this that makes such important projects
achievable," Curry said. "The department will begin a pilot test
phase this week in the source area to reduce the concentration of
contaminants in the aquifer."
The project will test three bioremediation amendment solutions to
determine the most viable alternative for full-scale implementation.
The solutions include vegetable oil, whey protein and ethyl lactate,
which will be recirculated within the PCE plume.
The amendments will add necessary electron donors required for
biodegradation of the PCE to nontoxic end products. The test is
expected to take nine months.
The department said contamination at the site -- discovered in
1989 -- affected at least 280 million gallons of water and forced the
closure of two city wells.
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