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Union Carbide Caribe L.L.C. (UCCLLC)

EPA Identification Number: PRD000692715
Location: Road 127, km 17.3, BO. Tallaboa, Pe˝uellas, Puerto Rico  

Link to the site map

EPA Contact: Richard Krauser, (212) 637-4166, krauser.richard@epa.gov
Last Updated: January, 2002
Environmental Indicator Status: Human Exposures Under Control: No
Groundwater Contamination Under Control:

Other (Former) Names of Site

Union Carbide Caribe, Inc. (UCCI)

Site Description

UCCLLCThe Union Carbide Caribe L.L.C. (UCCLLC) facility is located on the south coast of Puerto Rico, on State Road 127 in the Municipio (town) de Pe˝uelas, approximately 7 miles west of the city of Ponce. The site occupies about 680 acres of generally level land hat has mostly been reclaimed from wetlands by filling. The facility was formerly a large petrochemical complex, and is broadly divided into two areas, the Main Plant area, and the Puntilla area. The Puntilla area occupies most of a peninsula extending to the southwest from the Main Plant area. The peninsula extends into the Caribbean Sea, and separates Guayanilla Bay to the west and Tallaboa Bay to the east. The facility ceased production operations in 1985, although it served as a terminal for the bulk storage of chemical products and operated a wastewater treatment plant for a number years thereafter. The facility is adjacent to a number of mostly defunct chemical and petroleum refining facilities, the most notable of which is CORCO, immediately to the north. Otherwise, the land use in the area is generally residential and agricultural.

Site Responsibility

Cleanup at this site is being addressed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under authority of the of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Status

In 1993, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which mandated that all Federal agencies develop strategic plans, establish annual performance plans (which set objective, quantifiable and measurable annual targets and goals), and produce annual program performance reports that compare actual performance to the annual goals. The goals, as far as RCRA facilities are concerned, are that by 2005, the States and EPA will verify and document that 95 percent of the 1715 high priority RCRA facilities identified nationwide will have "current human exposures under control", and that 70 percent of these facilities will have "migration of contaminated ground-water under control". UCCLLC is one of these facilities.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater samplingThe major threat is the result of the unintended release of contaminants from identified solid waste management units into the soil beneath the facility and to the groundwater within that soil. These contaminants include: benzene, ethylbenzene 2-methylnaphthalene, naphthalene, styrene, toluene, and xylene. There are 36 of these units that have been identified. Some of these units, specifically surface impoundments (lagoons), were used to intentionally manage hazardous waste on-site. The sludges from these lagoons were dewatered and disposed in a landfill on-site.

Because of its relatively high salt content, the groundwater is not currently used for drinking. The released contaminants however represent a potential threat to the surface water of the Caribbean Sea and to its nearshore ecosystem. In addition, some groundwater in the regional area is reportedly used for agriculture and other purposes from unregistered private wells, although these wells would not be expected to be impacted by the potential sources of contamination at this site.

The 36 identified solid waste management units were initially categorized into one of four groups. The groups represent: 

  1. units that are adjacent to each other, require an operating permit, and have an interim permit to operate; these units shared the same critical cleanup issues; 
  2. units that have an interim permit to operate and were required to close;
  3. units which had not been investigated for releases, and 
  4. units that are classified as process sewers and have not been investigated for releases


Cleanup Status/Corrective Action

Steam cleaning of sampling equipmentThe site is being addressed by Union Carbide Caribe, under EPA oversight, in two measures: Interim Corrective Measures and long-term corrective measures directed at cleanup of the entire site.



Response Action Status

Interim Corrective Measures:

The group 1 units, those requiring the most immediate attention regarding corrective action, were investigated. Under a 1988 permit, these units have had their hazardous waste chemically and physically stabilized. Ground-water pumping has served to prevent the movement of the contaminated ground-water off-site.

Entire Site:

The group 2 units have generally had their hazardous waste removed and disposed in accordance with RCRA regulatory requirements. The group 3 units have been investigated further and it has been determined that of the 18 units in this group, 15 do not require further corrective action activities. The remaining three units are being investigated to determine the extent of contaminant release by these units to the environment and the risks posed by these releases. The four group 4 units have still not been investigated.

Cleanup Progress

Drilling for observation well.Corrective action, in the form of ground-water pumping, continues as part of the extended 1988 permit requirements. The group 2 units are in the process of closure and the cleanup of soil and ground-water contamination will be done as part of the unit-specific closure requirements. The three group 3 units that are being investigated to determine the extent of releases and associated risks, are also undergiong a Corrective Measures Investigation. The group 4 units have not been investigated.


Permit Status

UCCLLC is continuing corrective action under the 1988 Permit. The Permit expired in 1993, but has been automatically extended until a new Permit is issued. UCCLLC submitted an application for a Permit renewal. A renewal Free PDF reader available Draft Permit was published as a Public Notice (Free PDF reader available English /Spanish ) on September 18, 2002. The public comment period will run for 45 days and is scheduled to close November 1, 2002.

Site Repository

Copies of supporting technical documents and correspondence are available for public review at the following location:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 2 
RCRA Records Center
290 Broadway, 15th Floor, Room 1538
New York, New York 10007-1866

Telephone (212) 637-3043

The inspection of some of these documents may require a formal requestunder the United States Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


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