North Indian Bend Wash (NIBW) Superfund Site
|The North Indian Bend Wash (NIBW) Superfund site is bounded by Chaparral Road to the north, Pima Road to the east, Scottsdale Road to the west, and McKellips Road to the south. In some locations, groundwater contamination has extended beyond these boundaries and those locations are considered part of the Superfund site.
Map of NIBW Superfund Site (PDF/5.5MB/1p)
Groundwater contamination at NIBW was discovered in 1981 when industrial chemicals, primarily trichloroethylene (TCE), were found in several Scottsdale-area drinking water wells. As a result, local water providers stopped using those wells for drinking water purposes. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) identified the potentially responsible parties causing the contamination and determined that a long-term cleanup effort would be required. The potentially responsible parties for the contamination—Motorola, Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline (formerly SmithKline Beecham); and SMI Holding LLC (formerly Siemens)—are responsible for costs associated with the cleanup. The State of Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and Department of Water Resources (ADWR) are overseeing the cleanup for the state.
To cleanup the site, the potentially responsible parties built the Central Groundwater Treatment Facility (CGTF), located at Pima and Thomas roads. The plant treats water pumped from four groundwater wells that contain TCE. The CGTF is owned and operated by the City of Scottsdale, the drinking water provider. The city ensures that the water produced by the plant meets or surpasses all federal and state standards for safe and healthful drinking water, under the oversight of the USEPA in cooperation with ADEQ. The facility removes TCE from the water to a non-detect level (less than 0.5 parts per billion), which is far below the standard of 5 parts per billion.
In December 2006, the USEPA declared that construction was complete on all treatment facilities needed to prevent unsafe levels of contaminants from entering the drinking water supply. Four treatment facilities have been constructed in the Scottsdale area, as well as two in Tempe. In 2005, these facilities treated 5.8 billion gallons of water, or 16 million gallons a day. Although construction of these facilities is complete, it has been estimated that the cleanup will take 30-50 years. However, large portions of the groundwater plume cleanup should be completed before that time.
Homeowners who have property within the Superfund site face no liability for contamination caused by others. Most of Arizona's federal Superfund sites involve groundwater contamination resulting from the disposal of industrial solvents by industrial facilities. In many instances, this water contamination has moved beyond the facilities’ boundaries to the aquifers under residential property. Sellers or buyers of residential property, who have not caused or contributed to the contamination, simply are not liable for the cleanup, and no derivative liability exists for their lenders. In addition to the federal law, Arizona has its own mini-Superfund law which protects innocent homeowners from cleanup liability.
Homeowners who are selling their home within the NIBW Superfund site must disclose the fact that the home is in a Superfund site to potential buyers. Whether disclosure is made by the seller or a real estate agent, the Superfund designation should be disclosed at the first discussion about the property. This will avoid any last-minute questions that could complicate the transaction. If you aren’t sure if your home is within the site, please call (480) 312-8743.
For More Information
- Craig Miller, City of Scottsdale Water Resources, (480) 312-8743
- Rachel Loftin, US EPA, (415) 972-3253 or (800) 231-3075
- Wendy Flood, ADEQ, (602) 771-4410 or, toll free, at (800) 234-5677
- USEPA Region IX Web site
- ADEQ Web site
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