Toxic California Cleanup Settled for $55 Million

     (CN) – As former owners of a Los Angeles rubber plant that has not been active in decades, the U.S. government and Shell Oil reached a $55 million settlement Tuesday.
     The settlement and complaint appeared simultaneously Tuesday night in Los Angeles federal court.
     Announcing the deal today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the money will go toward cleaning up contaminated soil at the Del Amo Superfund Site.
     Stretching across 280 acres of Los Angeles, the Del Amo facility was the site of a synthetic rubber manufacturing plant that the Defense Plant Corp. and Rubber Reserve Co. built in the 1940s.
     The U.S. General Services Administration inherited liability for the conduct of those government entities up until Shell bought the site in 1955,
     In the decades since operations ceased in 1972, tests have found contamination of soil and groundwater.
     Regulators say the companies used benzene, propane, butylene and butane to produce synthetic rubber, then disposed of the chemicals in unlined pits and ponds that they covered with soil.
     The EPA put the Del Amo Superfund Site on its National Priorities List in 2002.
     It says the “cleanup work will prevent surface exposure of industrial chemicals and reduce sources of groundwater contamination.”
     For the next three to five years, “the cleanup will involve injecting chemicals into the ground … to accelerate the breakdown of the contamination deep within the soil.”
     The government will also use a vacuum system tp extract and filter harmful vapors trapped within the soil.
     Concrete and asphalt will cover other areas to prevent exposure, and the government is also increasing ventilation or adding floor sealants in a building
     “To date, extensive investigations and cleanup actions have been performed at the Del Amo Superfund Site, including the construction of a multi-layer impermeable cap, soil-vapor extraction and a treatment system at the waste pits, and construction of a groundwater extraction and treatment system,” the EPA said in a statement. “In addition, during the spring of 2015, EPA conducted indoor vapor intrusion testing at 107 homes in the area of the Del Amo and nearby Montrose Superfund Sites as part of an ongoing investigation.”
     The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
     Also on Wednesday, the EPA finalized settlement plans across the country, regarding a Superfund site in New Jersey.
     The site in Gibbsboro and Voorhees, N.J., includes a former Sherwin-Williams paint-manufacturing plant and the waters of Hilliards Creek, which flow into Kirkwood Lake.
     Regulators say the soil and the groundwater beneath the former paint-manufacturing site are contaminated with lead, arsenic and volatile organic compounds. Sediment in and near Hilliards Creek are contaminated with lead and arsenic.
     A record of decision that the EPA published Wednesday “calls for the removal of contaminated soil from approximately 33 residential properties in Gibbsboro and Voorhees.”
     The EPA held a public meeting in Gibbsboro, N.J., on June 11, and the agency accepted public comments for 60 days.
     Gibbsboro and Voorhees are also home to the Route 561 dump site and the U.S. Avenue Burn Superfund site.
     Regulators say Hilliards Creek, Kirkwood Lake, the Gibbsboro Nature Preserve and residential areas have been impacted and require a cleanup.
     Cleaning up the residential areas affected by these sites is expected to cost $14 million, according to a statement from the EPA.

%d bloggers like this: