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U.S. Recovers $10 Million for Cleanup at the Puente Valley Operable Unit of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site

Release Date: 7/31/2003
Contact Information: Blain Rethmaier, (202) 514-2007; or Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice and The Environmental Protection Agency today announced the filing of a complaint and the lodging of a consent decree involving the reimbursement of $10 million for cleanup of the Puente Valley Operable Unit of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund site in Los Angeles County, Calif.

Under the consent decree, twelve settling parties will reimburse the United States $10 million plus interest for costs incurred in investigating and responding to releases of hazardous substances at the Site. The EPA intends to use this money to pay for further response actions needed there.

"Through this agreement, we are recovering money spent from the Superfund to address contamination at the Site and to protect human health and the environment," said Thomas L. Sansonetti, assistant attorney general of the Environment and Natural Resource Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. 'We are also conserving the Superfund by ensuring that those who contributed to the problem pay for the cleanup."

"This is the first major cash settlement in Puente Valley and ensures continued cleanup at the site, which still threatens valuable groundwater resources," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "By requiring responsible parties to pay to clean up past contamination, the EPA deters future contamination."

The Superfund site consists of an area of groundwater contaminated with chlorinated organic solvents. The area was placed on the National Priorities List, a list of the highest priority sites for Superfund cleanup, in 1984. The EPA adopted an interim remedy to address the groundwater contamination at the Site in September 1998. That remedy requires the design and implementation of groundwater extraction and treatment facilities to contain the contaminated groundwater.

The EPA has identified several dozen other potentially responsible parties and expects them to pay money or perform work to complete this phase of the cleanup at the site. Currently, one party is performing a portion of the interim remedy in cooperation with the EPA. Another party has been issued a unilateral administrative order to perform separate work at the site.

The consent decree resolves the Superfund liability of twelve settling defendants who are or were owners or operators of facilities identified as sources of releases of hazardous substances at the Site. The 12 settling defendants are: Acorn Engineering Co; Aerosol Services Co., Inc.; Walter K. Lim, Sylvia Lim and Nancy Lim ; GOE Engineering; Hexcel Corp.; Lansco Die Casting, Inc.; C. Roy Herring/Miriam Herring Trust; Herring Investments, LLC; Saltire Industrial, Inc.; Somitex Prints of California, Inc.; Union Pacific Railroad Company; and Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company.

Notice of the lodging of the proposed consent decree will be published in the Federal Register, and there will be a 30-day public comment period.