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Release Date: 8/4/1998
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

    (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today released a Superfund report evaluating the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) as a candidate for the federal Superfund National Priorities List.   Existing data indicate that low levels of tritium emissions at the LBNL are well below U.S. EPA clean air public health standards, and do not indicate a need to add LBNL to the Superfund list.  Nevertheless, EPA has requested additional sampling of the air, water and soil in and around the laboratory in order to make a final listing decision.

     Air samples taken at and near LBNL show tritium at safe levels, more than 50 times below the federal Clean Air Act's national health standard for hazardous air pollutants.  With the exception of one groundwater sampling location, surface and groundwater samples taken in the area showed tritium at levels well below the tritium drinking water standard set by the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Neither surface water nor groundwater in the vicinity is used as a drinking water source.

     In 1997, in response to a request by the Berkeley City Council to consider community input and perform independent sampling at LBNL, U.S. EPA and the California Department of Health Services (DHS) formed the Tritium Issues Work Group  comprising community members and scientists. U.S. EPA will ensure that a sampling plan developed by the work group includes Superfund data needs. U.S. EPA and DHS will continue their efforts to evaluate all new data to assure that public health is protected.

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