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Release Date: 10/23/2000
Contact Information: Randy Wittorp, 415-744-1589

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will break ground on construction of a cap over soil contaminated with waste oil at the Purity Oil Superfund Site, a former waste oil processing facility in Fresno, California. Fifty-eight families who had lived near the facility at the Tall Trees Mobile Home Park have now been relocated.

     After the EPA completed evaluating the site, working with the community and selecting a clean-up for the site it became clear that some of the residents would need to be relocated in order to proceed with cleanup.

      "We are pleased to be able to break ground on the final step in this clean-up," said Keith Takata, director of the EPA's regional Superfund Division. "Through the hard work and dedication of both Jeff Ponting of Center for Rural Legal Assistance, Fresno County and Chevron, as well as the cooperation and support of everyone else involved, we have been able to provide this community housing and move forward with the clean-up."
     Soils at the site are contaminated with phenols, polychlorinated  biphenyls, pesticides, oil and grease, volatile organic compounds,  lead, copper and zinc.  The soil cleanup involves removing contaminated vapors from the soil, and capping lead-contaminated soil.

     The groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, and heavy metals, including iron and manganese. The groundwater treatment system - - which strips  contaminants from the water -- has been in place since 1995.

     In 1985, EPA removed about 1,800 cubic yards of hazardous materials from pits and seeps and 25,000 gallons of liquids from a tank on site. In 1987, EPA removed about 33,000 gallons of oil and water from another tank.

     Purity Oil, located in the Malaga township, refined petroleum waste oils at the seven-acre site between 1934 and 1975. Oil and by-products from the refining process were collected and stored in sumps, storage tanks, and sludge pits. Waste oil sludge was used by local farmers for dust control or buried in unlined pits and ponds, contaminating soil and groundwater.
     Sites on EPA's Superfund list pose the greatest long-term threat to public health and the environment. More information about this site can be
obtained at EPA's web page at: