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Release Date: 4/11/2002
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, U.S. (415) 947-4307

     Companies share of liability is resolved

     SAN FRANCISCO -   Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control signed an agreement with J.H. Mitchell & Sons Distributors, Inc. of Baldwin Park, and Screwmatic Inc.of Azusa requiring the companies pay $1.6 million for cleanup of the Baldwin Park Superfund site.  

     The two companies, will pay $1.4 million to the EPA and $224,000 to the DTSC settling their liability in the cleanup based on a limited ability to pay.  The EPA evaluated the financial condition of both companies and concluded that the cash payments represent a fair contribution to the cleanup.  This new agreement follows the recently completed agreement between local water companies and eight of the 19 named responsible companies to fund the $200 million groundwater cleanup.

     "These two companies have accepted their share of responsibility and helped to avoid delays that litigation would have brought, said Jane Diamond, the EPA's Superfund Director of the Pacific Southwest region.  "We are satisfied that this is an equitable settlement which will help move us along in the ongoing cleanup."  

     The EPA will place the $1.4 million in an interest bearing account to be used, for work on the Baldwin Park project.  In coming months, EPA expects either to enter into additional settlements or to use its enforcement authority to ensure that the remaining non-settling companies pay their fair share of the contamination cleanup. The proposed settlement is subject to a 30 day public comment period.  

     J.H. Mitchell & Sons Distributors, Inc., has operated in Baldwin Park since approximately 1960, distributing gasoline, industrial and automotive oils, petroleum products, and solvents.  Screwmatic, Inc. manufactures precision metal parts and has been operating in Azusa since 1964.          

     The Baldwin Park Superfund Site in the San Gabriel Valley is an area of groundwater contamination that is several miles long in and near the cities of Azusa, Irwindale, Baldwin Park, and West Covina.  The groundwater is contaminated with chlorinated solvents and other chemicals including perchlorate, nitrosodimethylamine, and dioxane.  The EPA's cleanup plan calls for pumping and treating contaminated groundwater in this area.

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