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EPA finalizes AMCO Chemical Site in Oakland for national Superfund status

Release Date: 10/1/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, 415-947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today added the AMCO Chemical site in West Oakland to the list of federal Superfund sites.

The EPA will now begin further assessing the nature and extent of contamination at the site, with a particular focus on delineating the area of groundwater contamination. Vinyl chloride and other chemicals have been found in soil and groundwater monitoring wells on and near the site. Groundwater beneath the site is not used for drinking water and the majority of the site is covered with asphalt, which prevents direct contact with contaminants.

"Adding AMCO to the EPA's Superfund list ensures that we have the resources and regulatory authority necessary to clean up this site," said Keith Takata, director of the U.S. EPA's Superfund program in San Francisco. "Today's announcement marks another step toward a healthier, cleaner neighborhood for West Oakland. We will continue to work with the local community which has been active advocates for environmental cleanup and redevelopment to ensure that this site is ultimately suitable for productive use."

AMCO was one of 12 new sites designated as federal Superfund sites today, and the 97th Superfund site in California. There are 1,245 Superfund sites nationwide.

In an effort to eliminate any short term public health threat to people on the property or living nearby, the EPA performed an immediate cleanup of the site in 1996 by removing soil and installing a thermal oxidizer unit to treat the contaminated soil. The agency ended up shutting down the treatment unit after community members raised concerns over potential dioxin emissions. Now that AMCO has been designated a federal Superfund site, the EPA will work with the community to address any long-term health effects posed by contaminated soils.

The site, currently used to store cable, was a chemical distribution facility from 1960 to 1989. Bulk chemicals were off-loaded from a rail spur and stored in drums and above-and underground storage tanks prior to being transferred to smaller packages for re-sale.

The EPA received two supportive comments during the 60 day comment period that preceded today's announcement. They called on the agency to perform the cleanup as quickly as possible and allow redevelopment to occur at the site.