MARCH 2009

EPA and Mexican agencies complete cleanup of smelter

The United States Environmental Prtection Agency (EPA) joined Mexico’s environmental ministry, SEMARNAT, to celebrate the cleanup of Metales y Derivados, a former Tijuana lead smelter that was abandoned with over 42,000 tons of lead in open pits or buried in drums and sacks, which posed significant public health risks to the residents of nearby Otay Mesa.

Starting in the late 1980s, Metales y Derivados was a United States-owned, lead smelting facility. In 1992, the facility was cited by Mexico’s PROFEPA for environmental non-compliance, and in 1994, the site was abandoned by its owner. In 2004, a binational partnership workgroup established as part of the United States–Mexico Border 2012 Program, implemented a four-phase cleanup plan which included the initial removal of 2,000 tons of high risk wastes and the recent construction of a cap over 42,000 tons of lead waste.

The Metales y Derivados property is now owned by Baja, California as a result of the cleanup and land-transfer agreement established in 2004.