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U.S. EPA removes Ralph Gray Trucking Co. Site in Southern Calif. from Superfund list

Release Date: 9/29/2004
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815

     LOS ANGELES   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency removed the Ralph Gray Trucking Co. Superfund Site, located in a residential neighborhood of Westminister, Calif., from the agency's Superfund list earlier this week.
     The removal of the Ralph Gray site from the EPA's Superfund list culminates the EPA's extensive effort to remove toxic sludge and make the area safe for residential uses.  For several years in the 1930s, Ralph Gray Trucking Co. used the area to dispose of refinery wastes.

     "This neighborhood went through some tough times, but we are delighted that we can now take the Ralph Gray Trucking Co. Site off the Superfund list," said Keith Takata, director of the EPA's Superfund program in San Francisco.  "Our cleanup has made the area safe for residents."

     To clean up the waste directly beneath neighborhood yards and buildings, the EPA had to relocate 30 families for up to two years while yards were excavated down to 25 feet.  The EPA conducted outreach to residents in  Spanish and Vietnamese as well as English, and rebuilt any improvements over the waste, including room additions, swimming pools, and landscaping.

     Five houses that were located on top of the waste were razed; four have since been re-built.  A large vacant lot was cleaned up and is now a small office complex.

     During the 1930's, Ralph Gray Trucking Company Co. disposed of acid sludg, oil field wastes, and oil refinery wastes in unlined pits at the site.  In the late 1950s, homes were constructed over the abandoned waste.  Later, residents found noxious black sludge seeping from the ground and buried waste materials in their backyards.

     The EPA placed the Ralph Gray Trucking Co. Site on the Superfund list in 1992.  The agency discovered a large waste body under a thin layer of topsoil and began removing the waste.  The actual cleanup lasted from 1994 to 1997.

     The EPA designates sites that may present a significant risk to public health or the environment as Superfund sites, qualifying them for federal cleanup funds.  The agency held a 30-day public comment period on the proposal to take the site off the Superfund National Priorities List.  No comments were received and the deletion of the site became effective September 28.

     For more information on the EPA's Superfund program, please visit: