Solar Panels to Power Cleanup

The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency’s Jared Blumenfeld, U.S. Congressman Mike
Thompson and Linda Adams, Secretary of the California
Environmental Protection Agency today hosted a press conference
and media tour to provide details about recent exciting energy
conservation and cleanup accomplishments at the
Frontier Fertilizer Superfund site in Davis, California.


An innovative
electrical resistance heating system partially funded by the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act officially went online
today and will reduce the projected timeline to cleanup the site
from 150 years to 30 years.

Congressman Mike Thompson provides remarks at Frontier
Fertilizer event in Davis, California


“For the first time ever, solar will provide all of the power
for a Superfund groundwater cleanup,” said Jared Blumenfeld,
EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our
goal should be to clean the environment in the greenest way
possible—and this new treatment plant sets the benchmark for
future actions.”

More than $2.5 million dollars in stimulus funding has gone to
recent improvements at the site. By installing the solar panels
and starting the new system, the site will lower overall energy
costs by $15,000 a year and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 54
metric tons a year
. It will also speed the cleanup by an
estimated 120 years.


“I am pleased with the impressive progress that has been made
in the cleanup of the Frontier Fertilizer Superfund Site,” said
Rep. Thompson. “Gains of this magnitude would not have been
possible without the innovative use of solar panels to power the
cleanup. These are exactly the kinds of smart, targeted
investments that will help create jobs, strengthen our economy,
and position our community as a leader in the clean energy
“It’s very rewarding to be able to use the latest green
technologies to accelerate the cleanup of toxic sites in
communities” said Linda Adams, Secretary of the California
Environmental Protection Agency
(Cal-EPA). “It means that Cal
EPA can work more efficiently at converting contaminated
properties into productive sites for the local community.
Frontier Fertilizer is a prime example of using green technology
to green up neighborhoods.”


Electrical resistive heating is a technology sometimes used
to cleanup sites when conventional methods will not work. The
heating system includes 236 heating electrodes that will heat
the soil and groundwater to the boiling point of water.
Extraction wells strategically located in and around the heated
areas will collect gas and liquids generated by the heating
system. Extracted gas and liquids are treated with granular
activated carbon. Twenty-seven temperature-monitoring wells will
be used to monitor the belowground operation.


EPA first installed limited solar
panels at the Frontier site in 2007. The initial system helped
to partially offset the electrical power needs for the
groundwater treatment system but could not fully power the site.
In 2010, $350,000 in Recovery Act Funds were used to expand the solar system, which now
provides 100% of the power for the groundwater treatment system

The new solar panels cover half an acre and have resulted in
a ‘green’ method that generates plenty of solar energy and will
off-set non-renewable energy use. The expanded solar panel
system was installed by a small, local business. To further
green the site, the project team is also evaluating options for
the reuse of treated groundwater for irrigation of City and
Caltrans properties.


The Frontier Fertilizer site was first developed in the
1950’s to store agricultural equipment. Operations in the 1970s
and 1980s consisted of storing, mixing and delivering pesticides
and herbicides. For years since, toxic chemicals including
pesticides and herbicides have been leaking into soil and
groundwater, the primary source of drinking water in the area.


Learn more about

Frontier Fertilizer

release via epa


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