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Release Date: 2/12/2002
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, U.S. EPA, (415) 947-4307, (415) 760-5421 (Cell phone)

     Agency removes 1500 truckloads of contaminated soil and restores yards
     SAN FRANCISCO - Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has completed the DDT cleanup and restoration work in the front yards of residences along the west side of Kenwood Avenue in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles County.

     Approximately 1500 truckloads of soil were removed from 22 front yards and clean soil was brought in to backfill the excavations.  The contaminated dirt was trucked to the former Montrose plant property, were it is being stored in engineered holding cells at the site.  Soil from this cleanup will be dealt with as part of the final cleanup at the Montrose Chemical Superfund Site.  Total cost of this removal action is $10.1 million.
     "This cleanup is a huge success.  We have left this neighborhood cleaner and safer by permanently removing the possible health threat from DDT and making the yards as clean or cleaner than yards elsewhere in Los Angeles," said Wayne Nastri, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  "We really appreicate the cooperation and patience of the residents.  The neighborhood and new yards look great, and the homeowners deserve a lot of credit for that."

     In all, 22 of the 25 properties identified by the agency opted for the voluntary cleanup.  Work crews cleared yards of all fencing and plants, then removed soil to depths averaging four to six feet.  The EPA took confirmation samples every 10 feet within each excavation to ensure that DDT levels were below the health based level set for this cleanup.  Crews then brought in clean soil to backfill the excavations.  A landscape architect worked with each homeowner to develop individual yard restoration plans.  The yards have now been restored with new sod, concrete, brickwork and landscaping.
     A storm water drainage ditch that ran southward from the former Montrose Chemical DDT manufacturing plant through the area was the cause of the contamination.  An underground storm sewer pipeline was later installed in the 1960's, but DDT-contaminated soil remained and was mixed into front yards on the west side of the street.

     DDT was one of the most widely used pesticides in the world until 1972 when its use was banned in the United States for most purposes.  Because of this use, DDT continues to be found at low levels throughout the LA area.

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