PR#127 Project Report

Executive Summary of the Project PR#127-Guayanilla-Peñuelas


Reuse and Implementation Plan for the Petrochemical Zone of Guayanilla 
and Peñuelas, Puerto Rico

PR#127 por Antonio Martorrell

The Project in Brief 
In October 2010, Desarrollo Integral del Sur, Inc. (DISUR) began the PR#127-Guayanilla-Peñuelas Project, a Master Plan for the environmental cleanup and reuse of 13 properties (approximately 1,800 acres or 50 percent of the impacted land) in and around the former petrochemical complex of Guayanilla and Peñuelas, Puerto Rico.  The plan calls for the creation of a new generation of industries focused on the production of renewable energy and renewable energy resources and products, microalgae-based pharmaceuticals, as well as the creation of new, responsible recycling industries. These proposed reuses have the support of area residents and also attend to two regional issues: the problems of solid waste and the high cost of electricity produced primarily through non-renewable energy sources.
DISUR, a regional consortium including the public, private and academic sectors, as well as communities in south Puerto Rico, began the project with funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfield Area-Wide Planning Project Pilot. DISUR was one of 23 organizations in the U.S. chosen to complete the EPA Brownfield Area-wide Planning Pilot ProgramThis report represents the output of DISUR’s 26-month effort.
In the short-term, investment from private sector in these projects represents $500 million and the creation of 1050 jobs.
Significant Findings
  • Central government inattention to the Industrial Zone’s infrastructure for the last 30 years is a large barrier to the future development of the zone, as inadequate and deteriorated infrastructure discourages private sector investment.  There is an overall look of “abandonment” to the zone, which hinders its marketability; 
  • Eight of the 13 properties studied have no recent environmental data, indicating that environmental studies are necesary as a first step towards planning their environmental remediation and putting them into productive reuse; 
  • There are 11 different private-sector owners of the 13 properties studied in the petrochemical zone of Guayanilla-Peñuelas. Nine of the owners reside outside of Puerto Rico.  One of the owners cannot be located (the owner of the former Ponce Salt facilities);
  • Archological sites in the Petrochemical zone could slow clean-up and redevelopment efforts;
  • Additionally, the following infrastructure issues were identified. Attention to these infrastructure projects represents a multi-year multi-million investment from state and federal governments and could cause 100s of construction jobs in the medium- and long-term;
  • Bridges need repair and restoration;
  • Narrow highways do not adequately accommodate heavy industrial traffic;
  • Industrial roads cross through residential areas;
  • Problems connecting new industries to the electric grid;
  • Insufficient water supply for industrial and potable water;
  • A complete lack of sewer and storm-water management in the entire area;l
  • Private and state-owned port facilities in need maintenance; and
  • Lack of Land-Use Plan in Guayanilla.
Reuse Plan Vision for Eco-Industrial Reuse Plan
The Eco-Industrial reuse plan for the Petrochemical Area includes: 
  • A post-consumer and post-comercial solid and electronic waste recycling facilities;
  • A facility for the cultivation of micro-algae on an industrial scale;
  • A conglomeration of industries that can directly benefit from the production of microalgae in the zone (such as animal food production, cosmetic use or pharmacautical use, and/or the production of Bio-Diesel);
  • A 400-acre photovoltaic utility-scale energy plant to product 48Mw of electricity for consumption by PREPA;
  • An interpretive history center;
  • A manufacturing facility for the study and potential production of CIG solar cells and solar panels;
  • A retrofitting of the former Gulf Chemical, Oxochem and Caribe Isoprene plants for the safe production of products derived from condensed-gas; and
  • An historic-preservation project in a former sugar cane production facility.
Next Steps & Implementation
In February of 2013, DISUR began the first steps in implementing the reuse plan via a $1 million Coalition Assessment Grant from the EPA.  The 3-year project lasting through December 2015, in coalition with the municipalities of Ponce, Peñuelas and Guayanilla, will validate the Brownfields inventory in Guayanilla and Peñuelas and create a new Brownfields inventory for the municipality of Ponce’s Historic Downtown.  The inventory will assist municipal governments in the prioritization of resources for the cleanup and redevelopment of the identified Brownfield sites.
Additionally, the $1 million project will result in Phase 1 Environmental Studies for 45 Hazardous Substances and 10 Petrochemical Brownfields. Phase 2 Environmental Studies will also be performed on selected properties.  These studies willl include qualified professional opinions about the possibility of contaminants on the Brownfields and will characterize the contaminents and quantify and the levels of contamination through scientifically sound environmental sampling and analysis that conform with EPA’s guidance on “All Appropriate Inquires”.
Additionally, DISUR has entered into a collaborative agreement with Ponce Neighborhood Housing Services, another regional non-profit, to pursue a leadership capacity training program to assist citizens of Peñuelas and Guayanilla who have been impacted by the petrochemical zone to advocate for environmental justice and legal remedies for their communities.
Initial and Final Key Contacts: Rolando Emannuelli, Esq; Hon. Walter Torres; Carlos Maldonado Piris
Project Manager: David Southgate, COMPTIA Project +
Land Reuse Planners: Juan Carlos Feliciano, AIT CAAPPR y María Mercedes Rivera Grau, AIT CAAPPR
Puerto Rico Environmental Quality BoardMunicipality of GuayanillaMunicipality of PeñuelasMadre Tierra Atabey, Comité Pro Salud, Ambiente y Desarrollo de Tallaboa, Voces, Comité de Seguridad Municipal de Playa de Guayanilla 


For more information:
Download the Re-use and Implementation Plan:
En español:
In English:
PHASE 1 - Brownfields Reuse Planning
DATES: October to July 2011

Deliverables of Phase 1:
PHASE 2 - Establish Area-wide Strategies
DATES: July to December 2011
Deliverables of Phase 2:
PHASE 3 - Infrastructure Reuse and Investment Strategy
DATES: December 2011 to June 2012
PHASES 4 & 5 - Reuse Plan for Brownfields, Implementation Plan and Next Steps
DATES: June 2012 to February 2013

Deliverables of Phases 4 & 5:

Final Area-Wide Brownfields Reuse and Implementation Plan: For the Petrochemical Corridor Along PR#127-Guayanilla-Peñueals, Puerto Rico, (In English, PDF, 154 MB)  

Final Area-Wide Brownfields Reuse and Implementation Plan: For the Petrochemical Corridor Along PR#127-Guayanilla-Peñueals, Puerto Rico (In Spanish, PDF, 154 MB)