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U.S. EPA announces cleanup plan for Pemaco Superfund site in Maywood

Release Date: 1/14/2005
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, U.S. EPA, (213) 244-1815, Cell: (213) 798-1404

Cleanup will cost $13 million

SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today its cleanup plan to address soil and groundwater contamination at the Pemaco Superfund site, located in Maywood, Calif., starting later in 2005.

The EPA will place a soil cover over the entire site and establish plant growth to stabilize the soil in place. Then, the agency will extract contaminated groundwater and soil vapor using high vacuum pumps. The groundwater will be treated with an ultraviolet oxidation system, and the soil vapor will be treated with a flameless thermal oxidation system.

In the most contaminated areas the EPA will use electrical resistence heating to heat the soil and groundwater to vaporize the contaminants, making them easier for treatment.

The EPA's system will be carefully designed and monitored. The agency will measure all possible contaminants that could be released by the cleanup, and will meet all appropriate air quality standards. In addition, the agency is installing backup systems to collect any additional vapors that might be released from the system.

"The EPA wants to accomplish three things at the Pemaco Superfund site -- reduce the risk of contaminated soils and soil vapors rising to the surface; restore groundwater to Safe Drinking Water Act standards; and make sure that this site is no longer an environmental threat to the surrounding community," said Elizabeth Adams, chief of the Superfund cleanup branch of the EPA.

The Pemaco Superfund site is located at 5050 E. Slauson Avenue in Maywood, on the grounds of a former chemical blending facility. Environmental assessments performed at the Pemaco site have identified soil and groundwater contamination by volatile organic compounds, such as tetrachloroethene, a cleaning solvent, and vinyl chloride. Exposure to tetrachloroethylene can cause dizziness, nausea, and unconsciousness and in extreme cases, death.

The EPA added the Pemaco site to the National Priorities List in 1999, making it eligible for cleanup under Superfund. The cleanup is expected to cost approximately $13 million. The EPA is paying for all cleanup activities at the Pemaco Site because the former company no longer exists.

The EPA's decision comes after years of risk assessments, and meeting with local elected officials and holding public meetings to determine the best way possible to clean up the Pemaco site.

For more information on the EPA's Pemaco Superfund site cleanup plan, please contact:
Rose Marie Caraway
U.S. EPA Region 9
(415) 972-3158