Honolulu – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency working with the Guam Environmental Protection Agency completed the cleanup of contaminated soil from a former military water pump station at Agana Springs, Guam.
Electrical transformers and other equipment at the former military water pump station at Agana Springs contained oil with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a cancer-causing chemical. In 2007, site assessments found PCBs had leaked from the pump station equipment into the ground.
“The excavation of hundreds of tons of toxic soil restores the land for use by the residents of Guam,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA thanks the community of Agana Springs for its cooperation during our cleanup operations.”
Since cleanup began in December 2011, approximately 320 tons of PCB contaminated soil was removed from the area of the former water pump station and shipped off to a hazardous waste site on the U.S. mainland for proper disposal. EPA spent over $650,000 for the restoration of the area.
In addition to Guam EPA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Guam Historic Preservation Office assisted with the cleanup effort. While the area has been restored and graded, a silt fence may remain on site to protect the Agana pond from sediment while vegetation is re-established on the property.
PCBs were manufactured in the United States from 1929 until 1979 when their manufacture was banned. During that time, PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications including electrical, heat transfer, and hydraulic equipment.
Once in the environment, PCBs do not readily break down and may also be taken up into the bodies of small organisms and fish. As a result, people who ingest fish from contaminated waters may be exposed to PCBs that have bioaccumulated in the fish they are eating. PCBs have been determined to be a probable human carcinogen, and may cause a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.