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U.S. EPA orders hazardous materials and wastes removed from Signal Hill property

Release Date: 9/5/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has issued a emergency order to the owners and operators of a now-defunct used oil recycling company in Signal Hill to remove hazardous materials from the site in order to protect human health and the environment.

The unilateral administrative order was issued to Dico Oil Company, Inc., as well as Richard Cowan and Luis Marmol, the current and past operators and owners of the facility.

Dico is located at 1845 East Willow St. in Signal Hill. It was a used oil and recycling facility from 1960 to 1995. Cowan was the owner of Dico Oil Company and managed the day-to-day operations at the facility while it was in business.

"This order is a big step forward in the final cleanup of this site," said Dan Meer, chief of the emergency response and planning branch at the EPA’s Pacific Southwest regional office in San Francisco. "We are pleased that the parties responsible for the contamination will be working with EPA to clean up the site."

In 1995, above ground storage tanks, standing piping, various drums and contaminated soils were abandoned at the site and since then, the facility has not operated as a waste oil recycler. Subsequent owners have attempted limited cleanup activities and hazardous substances located on site have been released into the environment from leaking tanks, piping and drums.

The site contains three large above ground storage tanks, several drums, a piping system and soil contaminated with PCBs, lead and chromium. The EPA order requires that:

  • all surface and subsurface structures associated with the existing tank farm area are removed;
  • the extent of contamination at the site is investigated and characterized;
  • contaminated soils are removed;
  • and that all hazardous substances are disposed of in accordance with federal and state regulations.