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Sparton Technology Settlement Requires New Mexico Company to Clean Up Soil And Groundwater Plume

Under a court settlement that became final on March 3, 2000, Sparton Technology, Inc. will cleanup soil and groundwater contamination at their Albuquerque, New Mexico site. Both the soil and groundwater were found to be contaminated by hazardous metal plating wastes and waste metal cleaning solvents, including trichloroethylene and trichloroethane which are considered probable carcinogens, as a result of environmental investigations that were conducted at the facility under a 1983 RCRA § 3013 Order and a 1988 RCRA § 3008(h) Order. The contamination was caused by the manufacturing of electronic circuit boards at the facility from 1961 to 1994. The contaminant plume extends at least one-half mile from the facility. The affected groundwater is part of a group of aquifers that is the sole source of drinking water for the Albuquerque area.

EPA and Sparton were unable to reach agreement on either the appropriate remedy or interim measures for the facility and EPA issued its Final Decision on the selected remedy in June 1996. When negotiations on a RCRA 3008(h) Corrective Action Order failed, EPA and State and local agencies filed coordinated enforcement actions in the United States District Court in New Mexico on February 19, 1997 under the Safe Drinking Water Act § 1431, RCRA §§ 7002 and 7003 and state authorities. Over the next two years the governmental parties attended frequent court ordered mediation sessions and coordinated their efforts through meetings, correspondence, and teleconference calls.

In a January 18, 2000 press release, Gregg A. Cooke, the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 6 in Dallas, said "EPA worked closely with State and local officials to develop a comprehensive and effective strategy for cleaning up contamination at the Sparton plant. This Consent Decree and the clean up which will follow demonstrates EPA's commitment to work with its state and local partners to ensure protection of the environment."

The Consent Decree requires Sparton to take corrective actions which will prevent further migration of the contaminant plume; reduce the quantity of chemical sources in the soil to prevent further groundwater contamination; and restore the contaminated aquifer to federal and state drinking water standards.

For more information about this case, contact Michael Hebert (at 214-665-8315) or Gloria Small Moran (at 214-665-3193) in EPA Region 6 Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division.

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