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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Boricua Wood Processing Incorporated in Toja Baja, Puerto Rico

On this page:

  • Cleanup Status
  • Site Description
  • Contaminants at this Facility
  • Site Responsibility

Cleanup Status

In July 1995, prior to construction of the EPA required drip-pad, an Interim Corrective Measure (ICM) was implemented whereby approximately 145 cubic yards of arsenic and chromium contaminated soils were excavated from the most contaminated areas underlying where the drip pad would be installed. In addition contaminated sediments were removed from the storm drains in the drip pad area and along the northeast perimeter of the facility's property. Also, all open storm-water drains and sumps in the drip pad/treatment cylinder area were sealed to prevent further releases. A new drip pad, which is designed to prevent any future releases of waste, was installed.

Off-site Residential Lots
Corrective Measures have been implemented for final cleanup of the seven residential lots along Calle Algarrobo and Calle Almendro in the Barrio of Candelaria, Municipality of Toa Baja. These Corrective Measures were implemented under the EPA approved February 1997 Offsite Corrective Measures Work Plan - described in the 1998 Offsite Corrective Measures Final Report.

Prior to final approval of the selected remedy for the contamination at these offsite lots, EPA Public Noticed the draft proposed Corrective Measures on June 25, 1996, and held a Public Meeting in association with the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (EQB) on July 24, 1996 to discuss the proposed Corrective Measures with the public.

Field activities for the offsite lots Corrective Measures conducted between June and October 1997 included:

  • excavation of approximately 567 cubic yards of arsenic and chromium contaminated soils (including sediments in drainage
  • collection of 37 soil samples following excavation to confirm achievement of the clean-up goals,
  • construction of an enclosed storm water drain following clean-up of arsenic and chromium contaminated soils/sediments in the open drain that previously traversed the residential lots,
  • evaluation of each container (total of 29) of excavated soils (including sediments from the drainage ditch), prior to disposal, for the toxicity characteristics of arsenic and chromium utilizing the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), and
  • backfilling with clean fill, and site restoration.

The Puerto Rico EQB provided periodic oversight inspections during implementation of the Corrective Measures Implementation (CMI) field activities, and has also reviewed the CMI final report. 

Site Description

Boricua Wood Processing, Inc. is located on State Road 865 at kilometer 5.5, in Toja Baja. The facility is a manufacturing plant for the pressure injection of liquid preservative solutions into untreated cut lumber. The facility began its activity in 1957. 

Boricua Wood Processing uses an in-organic "CCA" type preservative solution, with active ingredients being Chromic Acid (Chromium Trioxide), Cupric Oxide, and Arsenic Pentoxide. Hazardous waste consisting of wastewaters, process residuals, preservative drippage, and spent formulations from wood preserving process that use inorganic preservatives containing arsenic or chromium are generated at the facility. The generated hazardous waste are placed in containers (55 gallon drums) which may be held on site for a period no longer than 270 days, prior to being shipped to an authorized hazardous waste treatment or disposal facility.

Boricua Wood itself encompasses a 3.76 acre site. However, it is fully contiguous with, and part of a larger 24 acre property owned by Maderas Tratades. Since Boricua Wood and Maderas Tratades have common ownership, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) the entire 24 acre site is under the corrective action requirements of Boricua Wood Processing. 

Contaminants at this Facility

Areas of arsenic and chromium contaminated soils have been delineated both onsite, and off-site on a contiguous non-residential property and in several residential lots located in the Barrio of Candelaria, Municipality of Toa Baja along Calle Algarrobo and Calle Almendro. Although these lots are not connected to Boricua Wood's property, they were impacted by surface water and process run-off carried via a storm-water conveyance system connected to the Boricua property.

The arsenic and chromium contaminated soils in the residential lots, (and sediments in the storm-water drainage ditch) have already been cleaned up. In addition, based on soil samples from three deep soil borings (16 - 20 feet deep) on-site at Boricua Wood, the arsenic and chromium contamination in the subsurface soils appears to decrease rapidly with depth, so groundwater, which is located approximately 90 feet below ground surface at the Boricua Wood property, does not appear to be impacted by the arsenic and chromium contamination.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

No Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit is required for this facility since it has ceased operating as a hazardous waste storage facility.

The site is being cleaned up by the Boricua Wood Processing under EPA oversight. However, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (EQB) participates with EPA in cleanup decision-making and oversight.