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U.S. EPA orders groundwater cleanup design for Del Amo site

Release Date: 9/5/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has issued a unilateral administrative order to Shell Oil Company and the U.S. General Services Administration to begin initial design work on a system to clean up contaminated groundwater at the Del Amo Superfund Site and at the adjacent Montrose Superfund Site in Los Angeles County, Calif.

In May, the EPA issued a companion order to the Montrose Chemical Corp. The EPA issued the orders so it can appropriately manage the work at the site, and so that work being conducted by Montrose and Shell is clearly defined.

"Taken together and separately, these orders represent major steps in groundwater cleanup in the area, steps which will help protect the groundwater resources in southern Los Angeles County," said Elizabeth Adams, acting chief of the EPA’s Superfund Site Cleanup Branch in the Pacific Southwest.

In addition to work conducted by Montrose and Shell, the EPA will conduct portions of the design work for the groundwater cleanup. The design phase consists of detailed planning and engineering work that will allow for the actual building of the groundwater treatment systems. This is expected to cost $5 million over two to three years.

The EPA issued a record of decision selecting cleanup actions for contaminated groundwater at the Del Amo and Montrose Superfund Sites in 1999. The groundwater at the sites is significantly contaminated with benzene and chlorobenzene, as well as other hazardous substances. The groundwater would pose a significant risk should anyone use it for drinking water however, it is not currently being used as a drinking water source in part because of the contamination.

The Del Amo Superfund Site was added to the EPA’s National Priorities List in 2002 and the Montrose Superfund site was added to the NPL in 1989. A synthetic rubber facility owned by the federal government was located on 280 acres at the Del Amo Site. Shell Oil Company purchased that facility in 1955 and operated it until 1972. The United States General Services Administration is the successor agency to the former U.S. War Assets Administration, which originally owned the plant. As a result of the Del Amo plant operations, benzene, ethylbenzene and other hazardous substances contaminated soil and groundwater at and near the former plant.

Montrose Chemical Corp. operated a DDT manufacturing facility at 20201 Normandie Avenue in Los Angeles County from 1947 until 1982. As a result of Montrose’s operations, DDT, chlorobenzene and other hazardous substances contaminated the soil and groundwater at and near the plant.

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