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U.S. EPA Releases Lane Metals Sampling Results

Release Date: 07/29/2008
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, U.S. EPA, 415/947-4248, chavez.wendy@epa.gov Carol Northrup, DTSC, 510/407-4817

Indoor air sampling results from residences, day-care, business

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 07/29/08) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today provided sampling results to residents and business owners whose indoor air was tested Friday for possible volatile organic compounds that might have migrated from underneath a nearby plating shop at 30th Street and San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, Calif.

“The EPA came out to the site to find out if there was any need for an emergency or urgent removal action -- and we’re relieved on behalf of the residents that this isn’t the case,” said Bret Moxley, the EPA’s on-scene coordinator overseeing the air sampling. “At this point, DTSC will continue with its long-term cleanup at the site.”

On Friday, the EPA placed sampling canisters in homes, a business and a day care center located near the former Lane Metal Finishers site after the Department of Toxic Substances Control found high levels of VOCs in five samples taken at eight feet below the surface. The EPA tested for four chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE), cis-dichloroethene, trans dichloroethene and vinyl chloride over a 24-hour period.

None of the chemicals were found at levels that require an emergency action. No chemicals were detected in the daycare. Only one chemical-- TCE-- was found in four residences, but was found at levels 100 times lower than what triggers an emergency action. Low levels of TCE and vinyl chloride were found at the adjacent autobody shop. The state’s long-term cleanup plan will address these levels.

Earlier this month, DTSC found very high levels of VOCs in the soil vapor under the former plating site, and contacted the EPA for assistance. Soil vapor is in the spaces between the grains of sand or soil underground, and can move through soil, but does not move as easily through clay and silt. This site has several clay layers in the soil which may have reduced the migration of the soil vapors.
    The EPA took air samples to ensure that vapors were not coming up through cracks in foundations and accumulating inside. If indoor VOC levels are high enough, they can create a health hazard for residents, especially children and pregnant women.

    Soil, soil vapor and groundwater contamination at the Lane Metals facility is most likely the result of solvents used as degreasers during plating operations on the site dating back to the 1950s. The solvents are not uncommon at plating shop sites. DTSC has been overseeing the investigation of the site since June 2007.

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