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U.S. EPA completes radioactive cleanup at Burbank site

Release Date: 3/31/2005
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815, Cell: (213) 798-1404, Main press line: (415) 947-8700

More that one million items removed from the site; cleanup expected to cost $9.3 million

LOS ANGELES The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has completed the first phase of an emergency removal of radiation contamination from a warehouse complex in North Hollywood.

The fourth phase of the cleanup at Preservation Aviation's warehouses on Burbank Boulevard continues. The final cost of the clean up is expected to be $9.3 million dollars.

The contamination was coming from more than one million vintage World War II aircraft dials stored at Preservation Aviation's abandoned vintage airplane parts warehouses. Preservation Aviation was one of the largest buyers and sellers of vintage aircraft gauges in the country.

When they were manufactured in the 1940s, the dials were painted with radium paint to make them glow in the dark. When they were found in Preservation Aviation's warehouses, damaged and leaking gauges had caused gross contamination throughout the structure.

The majority or the dials were not intact, causing the radiation levels in the warehouse buildings and areas outside to rise to potentially dangerous levels.

"Despite the fact the many of the items removed from the Preservation Aviation site were over 50 years old, they still represented a potential health risk to the community," said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Office in San Francisco. "Thanks to a carefully planned and executed removal by our emergency response team, the neighborhood surrounding Preservation Aviation is now a safer place."

The U.S. EPA's Emergency Response Section was called the site by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Radiation Management. In May, 2004, the EPA's Emergency Response Section based in Los Angeles, began weeks of work to stabilize the site and end the risk of radiation contamination in and immediately around the buildings.

Removal of the aircraft instruments and other contaminated material in the buildings began in mid-January; by February, all items had been removed. Upon removal of the radioactive items, mixed and hazardous waste were sorted by waste stream and packed for proper disposal.

EPA is currently assessing residual radioactive structural contamination to determine the final disposition of the structures.

For more information on the Preservation Aviation site, please visit:

For more information on CERCLA, please visit: