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EPA and Department of Ecology agree to additional environmental investigations at former Tacoma Chemical Plant
Release Date: 2/17/2005
Contact Information: Jonathan Williams
February 17, 2005
Tacoma, Washington - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington Department of Ecology have signed a legal agreement with Occidental Chemical Corporation (Occidental) that outlines steps for cleaning up one of the last, and possibly worst, contaminated sites on the Commencement Bay Superfund cleanup list.
The legal agreement, called an amended Administrative Order on Consent, calls for further environmental investigation at Occidental’s former chemical facility and parts of adjacent properties. It commits Occidental to evaluate alternative approaches for cleaning up the site, and design an integrated remedy or set of remedies for addressing contaminated soil, ground water, and sediments in Hylebos Waterway.
A related agreement recently announced between the U.S. Department of Justice, EPA, Occidental, and the Port of Tacoma, addressed much of the contaminated sediment in the mouth of Hylebos Waterway, but excluded the Occidental site.
The former Occidental Chemical facility, located on Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway, produced chlorinated solvents trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) from 1947 through 1973, and manufactured chlorine gas and caustic soda from 1929 through 2002. Chemicals remain in soil, ground water, and in sediments beneath the waterway despite a series of focused environmental investigations and cleanup actions conducted since 1989.
Remaining investigations are scheduled to be complete by March 2006, at which point EPA and Ecology will evaluate cleanup options and seek public comment on a final remedy.
The Occidental Site includes the property formerly occupied by the Occidental facility (now owned by Pioneer Americas LLC), and also includes parts of adjoining properties and Hylebos Waterway where contamination from the former chlor-alkali facility is found.
- National Superfund Site (epa.gov/superfund/index.htm)
Commencement Bay Superfund Site (yosemite.epa.gov/r10/cleanup.nsf/epasiteids/wad980726368)