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U.S. EPA signs agreement addressing indoor air contamination at Omega Chemical Corporation Superfund Site in Whittier

Release Date: 11/17/2009
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149,

LOS ANGELES – Under the terms of a recently signed agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and 75 members of the Omega Chemical Site PRP Organized Group (OPOG), the OPOG parties will undertake a number of actions to address indoor air contamination at commercial buildings located near the Omega Chemical Corporation Superfund site in Whittier, Calif.

The agency believes that the indoor air contamination is caused by contaminated soil and groundwater at the Omega Chemical Corporation Superfund site. Volatile contaminants from the Omega site, such as tetrachloroethene (PCE), and trichloroethene (TCE), are able to migrate through soil and into buildings through a process known as vapor intrusion. Contamination levels in two buildings adjacent to the site have been documented at levels above the EPA’s health-protective range for long-term industrial/commercial exposure to PCE and TCE.

“With the goal of reducing risks to the immediate community, this agreement between EPA and OPOG will mitigate threats posed by the presence of contaminant vapors in the Terra Pave and Bishop buildings,” said Keith Takata, Director of the Superfund program in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region.

Under the terms of the agreement, OPOG will design, install and operate an interim soil vapor extraction system in the immediate vicinity of the buildings to capture the contaminant vapors in soil and prevent them from entering the buildings. This interim system is expected to be consistent with the larger soil cleanup remedy for the site selected in EPA’s September 2008 Record of Decision. This agreement also requires OPOG to continue operating indoor air purifiers at the Terra Pave and Bishop buildings, and to monitor indoor air at these buildings, as well as other nearby commercial buildings where contamination has not been documented above the health-protective range.

The former Omega Chemical Corporation was a refrigerant and solvent recycling and treatment facility that operated between approximately 1976 and 1991. Soil and groundwater at the Omega site are contaminated with high concentrations of PCE, TCE, chlorinated hydrocarbons and Freon. PCE and TCE are solvents that have been widely used by industry as cleaning and degreasing agents; freon is used as a refrigerant and pressurizer in spray can products.

EPA placed the Omega site on the National Priorities List – a list of severely contaminated areas within the United States – in January 1999.

Since 1995, a group of parties that sent hazardous waste to the former Omega Chemical facility have been performing response actions at the site, including conducting investigations to determine how to clean up soil and groundwater at the site.

For more information on the EPA’s Superfund program, please visit:

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