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Release Date: 8/29/2001
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, 415/744-2201

     Soil, groundwater cleaned up

     SAN FRANCISCO   With the cleanup complete, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today removed the Western Pacific Railroad Site in southern Oroville, Calif. from the national listing of federal Superfund sites.

     While this is just the fifth Superfund site deleted in California, 35 sites in have construction completed and another 38 sites have construction underway.  There are currently 95 Superfund sites in California overall.

     "Our work is done here," said Keith Takata, director of the EPA's Superfund program in San Francisco.  "Just 10 years after targeting this site for federal cleanup, we can say that the groundwater and soil no longer pose a threat to workers or the surrounding community."

     The U.S. EPA named the 90-acre Western Pacific Site as a  federal Superfund site in 1990.  

     From 1920 through 1982, Western Pacific used the western portion of the property to fuel, repair and maintain rail cars, which resulted in soil and groundwater at the site becoming contaminated with waste solvents, oils, grease and heavy metals. Under separate orders from the state and U.S. EPA, the site's current owner, Union Pacific Railroad Co., removed contaminated soils from the property in 1989 and again in 1998.

     The EPA sampled and monitored groundwater for a decade before determining earlier this year that an on-site pump and treat system had cleaned up contamination to federal cleanup levels.  The site has been zoned only for industrial use in the future, and the EPA will conduct a review of the site every five years to ensure the property remains free of contamination.

     Today's announcement followed a 30-day public comment period that generated no responses.  The EPA continues to work on another Oroville Superfund cleanup, Koppers Industries, Inc.