SITE STATUS SUMMARY FOR (TX0000605363) DONNA RESERVOIR AND . PDF

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DONNA RESERVOIR AND CANAL SUPERFUNDSITEDonna, Hidalgo County, TexasSITE STATUS SUMMARYU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region 6)EPA ID: TX0000605363Site ID: 0605363U.S. Congressional District: 15Contact: Rafael Casanova, P.G. (214) 665-7437Last Updated: August 2015Effective October 1, 2015 this Site Status Summary will be replaced with a new site profile.The new site profile will be available at: www.epa.gov/superfund/donna-reservoir-canalCurrent StatusThe EPA is currently conducting a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the Site. Thepurpose of the RI/FS is to determine the nature and extent of contamination and to gather sufficientinformation about the Site to support an informed risk management decision regarding which remedy isthe most appropriate for the Site. The EPA is currently preparing the Draft Remedial Investigation Report,which describes the nature and extent of contamination, including the risk assessments for the Site.BackgroundThe Donna Reservoir and Canal Superfund Site (hereinafter “the Site”) is located southwest of Donna,Hidalgo County, Texas. The reservoir and canal system are owned and operated by the Donna IrrigationDistrict #1. The Site (see the “Site Map” section of this Site Status Summary) begins at the district’spump house, which draws water from the Rio Grande River, and extends north for approximately 8 milesalong the Donna Main Canal which leads to the Donna Reservoir located along Valley View Road.DONNA RESERVOIR AND CANAL1EPA Publication Date: 9/17/2015

DONNA WEST RESERVOIR(Looking Southwest towards Mexico from Valley View Road, 08/05/11)PORTION OF DONNA MAIN CANAL(Looking North Towards Donna, Texas, From Highway 281 Bridge, 08/05/11)DONNA RESERVOIR AND CANAL2EPA Publication Date: 9/17/2015

HEALTH ADVISORY AT THE CANAL (08/05/11)The fish in the reservoir and canal system are known to be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) from an unknown source. The reservoir system encompasses approximately 400 acres in fourseparate interconnected segments. The Donna Reservoir supplies drinking water to the cities of Donnaand North Alamo. The reservoir and canal system also provide irrigation water to the surroundingagricultural areas. The canal segments are above grade, except for siphons to carry water under theArroyo Colorado and some roads. The canal levees are of earthen construction with no liner, except for a1.75 mile section immediately south of the reservoir system which is concrete-lined. Several concretecontrol structures are located along the canal and are used to direct and control the flow of water. Wateris pumped into the canal from the Rio Grande River and flows by gravity to the reservoir system. Pumpsat the reservoir system distribute water to the east and west main canals north of the reservoir system forfurther distribution. The reservoir system is surrounded by levees which prevent surface runoff fromentering the reservoir system, limiting the reservoir system to water pumped from the Rio Grande Riverand rainfall directly into the reservoir system.The Site is bordered primarily by agricultural properties, although residential development is occurring tothe north of the reservoir system, and especially to the northwest of the system. FM 1423 (Valley ViewRoad) passes between the two active segments of the reservoir system, which are designated the eastand west reservoirs. Access to the canal and reservoir system is not restricted, and signs have beenplaced along this system notifying the public of the contaminated fish.The EPA first detected PCBs in fish from the Donna Canal in 1993. Multiple reports indicated that highlevels of PCBs were found in fish at the reservoir and canal system. As a result, a fish possession banwas placed on the reservoir and canal system. People continue to catch and consume the contaminatedfish, even though this ban has been in effect since 1994. The EPA performed removal actions in August2008 and February/August 2009, and again in September 2012. During this time, approximately 38,940fish which were potentially contaminated with PCBs were removed from portions of the reservoir andcanal system by using electro-shocking techniques and gill nets. The purpose of the fish removals(depopulation) was to have less fish available for human consumption and to initiate a public awarenesscampaign concerning the possible health effects of consuming the contaminated fish from the Site.DONNA RESERVOIR AND CANAL3EPA Publication Date: 9/17/2015

In 2009 and 2011, the EPA and the Texas Department of State Health Services performed door-to-doorcampaigns, in the City of Donna, to inform the local residents about the risks associated with eating thecontaminated fish. Several residents indicated that they were eating the fish caught from the Site andknew of other people that eat the fish. Another door-to-door campaign was conducted the week ofFebruary 6, 2012, in the City of Alamo, which is located northwest of the Donna Reservoir. Thiscampaign consisted of five two-person teams. Each team included a Spanish-speaker whom effectivelycommunicated with the mostly non-English speaking residents. The residents were informed about therisks associated with eating the contaminated fish and were given brochures, printed in English andSpanish, that summarized the issues associated with the Site.BenefitsThe investigation and cleanup of the Site will ensure the protection of human health and the environment.Specific cleanup benefits will be identified during the RI/FS and the “Human Health” and “Ecological RiskAssessments” planned for the Site.Approximately 35,000 adults and children live in Donna and Alamo, Texas, and the surrounding areas.The fish removals have resulted in less PCB-contaminated fish available for public consumption. TheEPA’s community outreach activities keep the public informed that the fish caught at the Site are possiblycontaminated with PCBs and that they should not be consumed. Public awareness campaigns initiated byfederal, state, and local agencies have resulted in an increased knowledge of the fish ban and dangersassociated with eating fish contaminated with PCBs from the Site. The principal pollutants at the Site,based on the currently available data, are PCBs. The “Health Considerations” section of this Site StatusSummary discusses the health effects of PCBs.National Priorities List HistoryThe National Priorities List (NPL) is a list of national priorities among the known or threatened releases ofhazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States. The NPL is intendedprimarily to guide the EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation to assess the natureand extent of public health and environmental risks associated with a release of hazardous substances.Proposal Date: September 19, 2007Final Listing Date: March 19, 2008Population:The population of the City of Donna, according to the 2010 census, was 15,798.Setting:The Donna Reservoir is a 400-acre impoundment located southwest of the city of Donnain southeast Hidalgo County, within the Arroyo Colorado watershed. Water for thereservoir is pumped from the Rio Grande River, through an eight mile elevated earthenMain Canal to the reservoir, which is used for water supply and irrigation storage by theCity of Donna and surrounding areas. The areas surrounding the reservoir and canal areprimarily irrigated crops and pastureland, with scattered residences.Hydrology:Ground water flow through the Lower Rio Grande Valley is from the northwest to thesoutheast at approximately 492 feet per year. Depth to ground water is approximately 10feet below the ground’s surface. The hydrology of the immediate vicinity of the Site willbe determined during the RI/FS.DONNA RESERVOIR AND CANAL4EPA Publication Date: 9/17/2015

Site Map**Donna Reservoir and Canal outlined in “red.”Wastes and VolumesThe types and volumes of wastes currently present at the Site, or possibly released from the Site, havenot been determined. This information will be obtained during the RI/FS for the Site. The principalpollutants at the Site, based on the currently available data, are PCBs. The “Health Considerations”section of this Site Status Summary discusses the health effects of PCBs.Health ConsiderationsHuman Health and Ecological Risk Assessments will be performed during the RI/FS for the Site. Theserisk assessments are an integral part of the RI/FS.A Human Health Risk Assessment estimates the current and possible future risks if no action were takento clean up a site. The EPA’s Superfund risk assessors, and Remedial Project Managers, determine howthreatening a hazardous waste site is to human health and the environment. They seek to determine asafe level for each potentially dangerous contaminant present (e.g., a level at which ill health effects areunlikely and the probability of cancer is very small). Living near a Superfund site does not automaticallyplace a person at risk, that depends on the chemicals present and the ways people are exposed to them.An Ecological Risk Assessment is defined as a process that evaluates the likelihood that adverseecological effects are occurring or may occur as a result of exposure to one or more stressors. A stressoris any physical, chemical, or biological entity that can induce an adverse ecological response. Adverseresponses can range from sublethal chronic effects in individual organisms to a loss of ecosystemfunction.DONNA RESERVOIR AND CANAL5EPA Publication Date: 9/17/2015

The principal pollutants at the Site are PCBs which are a group of synthetic organic chemicals that cancause a number of different harmful effects in humans. There are no known natural sources of PCBs inthe environment. The primary risk to human health from PCBs is from suspended sediment in the waterand the consumption of contaminated fish. The major hazards from exposure to PCBs relate to theirtoxicological properties. As a group they are generally thought to be carcinogenic by ingestion, andreadily accumulated in the body. There is evidence to suggest that PCBs may also cause reproductivedisorders and behavioral defects in newborns and infants. The primary target organ is the liver. Effectsof overexposure may include skin acne and cancer. Effects on animals and aquatic life are thought to besimilar, and food and other aquatic organisms bioaccumulate PCBs and pass them up to consumers,including larger predators and humans.Record of DecisionThe final remedy (cleanup alternative) for a site is published in a Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD isthe official documentation of how the EPA considered the remedial alternatives and why the EPAselected the final remedy. Before a ROD can be finalized, the EPA must provide a Proposed Plan forpublic review and comment. This plan summarizes the remedial alternatives presented in the analysis ofthe RI/FS and identifies the preferred alternative, the rationale for that preferred alternative, and thedocuments that support the EPA’s decision. A ROD has not been signed for the Site. The ROD isexpected to be issued in the latter part of 2016.Community InvolvementCommunity Involvement Plan:The Community Involvement Plan (CIP) specifies the community involvement activities that theEPA expects to undertake during the remedial activities planned for the Site. A CIP, based oncommunity interviews and other relevant information about the Site, has been prepared and isavailable for review at the Site’s Information Repository. The purpose of the repository is toprovide the public a location near their community to review and copy background and currentinformation about the Site. The Site’s repository is located at:Donna Public Library301 S. MainDonna, TX 78538Anyone who would like to be placed on the mailing list to receive current information about theSite is encouraged to call Rafael Casanova at (214) 665-7437 or 1-800-533-3508.Open Houses and Other Meetings:On November 17, 2007, the EPA’s representatives, along with representatives from other Federaland State agencies, met with City officials to discuss the contamination of the reservoir and canal.On August 12, 2008, the EPA sponsored a community meeting to discuss fish depopulation of thecanal with the residents and City officials. The meeting began with an introduction by MayorSimmons, of the City of Donna, along with representatives from the Donna Irrigation District. Themain message given during the meeting was that the fish from the Donna Canal should not beconsumed because of health concerns. The EPA also informed the meeting participants that theSite had been placed on the NPL.DONNA RESERVOIR AND CANAL6EPA Publication Date: 9/17/2015

On February 19, 2009, the EPA sponsored another community meeting to discuss the beginningof Phase 2 of the fish depopulation of the canal and the results of Phase 1 with the residents andCity officials.In 2011 and February 2012, respectively, the EPA met with officials from the cities of Donna andAlamo to discuss the door-to-door campaigns and the status of the investigation of the Site.The EPA held community meetings on March 27 and March 29, 2012, in Donna and AlamoTexas, respectively, to inform the residents about the contaminated fish and the planned activitiesfor the RI/FS. The meeting in Alamo was conducted in Spanish.Other community meetings will be scheduled in February or March 2013 to provide the public anupdate on the current activities at the Site and the data gathered thus far. Fact sheets have beenprepared, and will continue to be prepared, as necessary during the planning and implementationof the RI/FS. These fact sheets have been filed at the Site’s repository and distributed to peopleon the mailing list.Proposed Plan:A Proposed Plan has not been issued for the Site. Before a ROD can be finalized, the EPA mustprovide a Proposed Plan for public review and comment. This plan summarizes the remedialalternatives presented in the analysis of the RI/FS and identifies the preferred alternative, therationale for that preferred alternative, and documents that support the EPA’s decision. AProposed Plan is expected to be issued in the early part of 2016.Public Meeting:A formal public meeting will be scheduled after issuance of the Proposed Plan for the Site so thatthe public can provide input into the EPA’s proposed final decision for the Site.Technical Assistance Grant:A Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) is for a local citizens’ group to secure the services of atechnical advisor to increase citizen understanding of information that will be developed about theSite during the Superfund process. To be eligible for a grant, a group must incorporate. Also, theapplicant must meet a 20 percent matching requirement, which may be in cash or donatedservices. If you are interested in applying for a TAG, please call Janetta Coats (TAGCoordinator) at (214) 665-7308 or toll-free at 1-800-533-3508. An “Availability Notice” fo

The Donna Reservoir and Canal Superfund Site (hereinafter “the Site”) is located southwest of Donna, Hidalgo County, Texas. The reservoir and canal system are owned and operated by the Donna Irrigation District #1. The Site (see the “Site Map” section of this Site Status Summary) begins at the district’s