Nitric Acid Manufacturer Agrees to $5M Groundwater Soil Cleanup

The U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Apache Nitrogen Products Inc. entered into a consent decree for future groundwater and soil cleanup at the Apache Powder Superfund Site, near David, Ariz.

Apache Nitrogen said it will continue to remove nitrate and perchlorate from groundwater and perform long-term groundwater monitoring. The work will cost up to $5 million and the company has agreed to pay $1.2 million for the EPA's past response costs as part of the agreement. The company is using renewable energy and has constructed a "green" wetlands system to treat contaminated groundwater, EPA said.

"Water is a vital resource in Arizona. By using cost-effective bioremediation to clean up groundwater, Apache Nitrogen Products has saved money and protected an essential public resource," said Keith Takata, director of the Superfund program for EPA's Pacific Southwest office.

Under a Unilateral Administrative Order, Apache Nitrogen completed the design and construction of a clean up system in September 2008 for groundwater and soil contamination at the site. Shortly after, the company began long-term operations and maintenance including ongoing monitoring of the groundwater cleanup's effectiveness. Apache Nitrogen is now agreeing to continue to perform the cleanup work under a consent decree.

Apache Nitrogen began operations in 1922 as a manufacturer of industrial chemicals and explosives and continues operations today. EPA identified the Apache Powder Site as an environmental problem in the early 1980s and placed it on the National Priorities List in 1990.