U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division
Frontier Fertilizer Superfund Site, Davis, CA
Superfund NPL

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GAC Treatment
Roof-Top PV
Roof-Top PV
PV System
Water Reuse

video icon View the U.S. EPA's Alternative Energy: From a Toxic Past to a Renewable Future video highlighting green remediation at the Frontier Fertilizer Superfund Site.

Cleanup Objectives: Remove pesticides, carbon tetrachloride, and other chemicals of concern (COCs) from ground water and soil on an 18-acre former industrial site

Green Remediation Strategy: Maximize use of renewable energy to operate the existing groundwater pump-and-treat (P&T) system, implement energy-conservation measures to reduce the P&T system energy demand, treat soil continuing to act as the source of groundwater contamination, and identify beneficial reuse(s) for the treated water

  • Replace the conventional 10-hp pump used since 1995 to discharge treated water to the municipal sewer system, with an alternate gravity-feed pipe system
  • Equip the groundwater extraction pumps with variable frequency drives (VFDs) in all (16) extraction wells
  • Install a small roof-top photovoltaic (PV) system on the existing groundwater treatment building to initially meet a portion of the P&T system's energy demand
  • Expand the solar energy system with additional PV modules, when financially and technically feasible, to meet a greater portion of the P&T system's energy demand
  • Accelerate COC removal in source-area soil by way of thermal treatment at depths of 30-90 feet below ground surface, to reduce expected duration of P&T operations (at least 150 years)
  • Form a federal-state team to study water reuse options and issues such as nearby property ownership, transportation corridors, and infrastructure costs


  • Saving $7,000 in electricity-related operating costs each year, due to use of the gravity-feed discharge pipe since 2004; capital costs for the pipe (including installation) totaled approximately $20,000
  • Additionally reducing electricity consumption since 2006 through use of energy-conserving VFDs, which pump water on demand rather than continually; near-term return on the $45,000 capital costs for the VFDs is anticipated through a reduction in equipment stress caused by frequent start-stop cycles and through stabilized water flow through the treatment process
  • Generating approximately 8,000 kWh each year (about 15% of the P&T system's energy demand) through operation of a small (5.7-kW) roof-top PV system that was installed in 2007 at a cost of $35,000
  • Generating an additional 101,125 kWh each year through a 68-kW ground-mounted PV system that was installed in 2010
  • Offsetting 100% of the P&T system's demand for grid-supplied electricity, through operation of both PV systems
  • Avoiding an estimated 119,000 pounds in carbon dioxide (equivalent) emissions each year, by annually offsetting a total of 109,125 kWh of electricity otherwise generated through burning of fossil fuel
  • Saving an average of $15,000 in operating expenses each year through PV-system net metering with the local electricity provider, based on 2011 electricity prices
  • Anticipating a 14-year return on the $350,000 investment for the ground-mounted PV system, which has an expected lifespan of 20 years; this capital cost was partially reimbursed by a $100,000 rebate under the California Energy Commission's Renewable Energy Program
  • Continuing to treat an average of 2.4 million gallons of extracted groundwater each month; the volume of COCs removed each month averages 2 pounds, for a total of 1,512 pounds since P&T startup
  • Operating an in situ electrical resistive heating (ERH) system comprising 236 subsurface electrodes for an expected 18 months beginning in February 2011 to remove an estimated 60 pounds of COCs from source-area soil; the expected reduction in P&T duration (from 150 years to 30 years) due to ERH implementation is expected to significantly offset the ERH system's peak energy demand (2.5 MW)
  • Negotiating with nearby public or private property owners on the potential to use the treated groundwater as irrigation water, as an alternative to discharging treated water to the municipal sewer

Property End Use: Light industrial or office park

Point of Contact: Bonnie Arthur (arthur.bonnie@epa.gov), U.S. EPA Region 9

Update: December 2011

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