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EPA Adds Two Southern California Sites to Superfund List

May 11, 2012 by Eric Adair in News with 0 Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently added two Southern California sites to the National Priorities List. The newly-listed sites, located in South Gate, are the Southern Avenue Industrial Area site and the Jervis B. Webb Co. site.

In a May 9 press release, EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld said:

These industrial plants are located in the I-710 corridor, a priority area for EPA, where low-income and minority populations are overburdened by pollution. Now that these sites are officially on the Superfund list, EPA will begin full-scale investigations of the contaminated soil and drinking water sources.

Southern Avenue Industrial Area site

According to the EPA, since 1972, the site has been occupied by a facility that manufactures hot-melt adhesive tape for laying carpets. Prior to 1972, Pacific Screw Products Corporation manufactured screw products at the property until the business went bankrupt. The main areas of concern include concrete liners in the pallet manufacturing area, a sump, and an underground storage tank area. Historical Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Hazardous Waste Control Program surveys and notices of violations note the use of trichloroethylene (TCE) on the property and improper disposal of unusable oils and solvents.

Soil and ground water at, and down gradient of, the site are contaminated with TCE. TCE was detected in onsite soils at levels up to 17 parts per billion (ppb) and in ground water beneath the site at levels up to 17,000 ppb. The EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for TCE in drinking water is 5 ppb.

In May 2002, the EPA completed a Remedial Investigation of the nearby Cooper Drum NPL site. During the Remedial Investigation, the EPA identified the Southern Avenue Industrial Area site as an additional source of ground water contamination in the area. Based on additional ground water sampling, the EPA determined that the ground water contamination from the Southern Avenue Industrial Area site appears to be commingling with the down gradient portion of the Cooper Drum plume and requested the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) assume the lead on the Southern Avenue Industrial Area site. DTSC requested that the property owner and operator enter into a consent order, but both declined. Since 2007, DTSC was unsuccessful in attempting to compel the potentially responsible parties to conduct work at the site. Due to the lack of enforcement resources as well as the proximity of the site to the Cooper Drum NPL site, DTSC requested the EPA assume the lead for this site to ensure that investigation work continues and cleanup work begins.

Additional information supplied by the EPA regarding the Southern Avenue Industrial Area site may be found here and here.

Jervis B. Webb Co. site

According to the EPA, the Jervis B. Webb Co. conducted metal fabrication, finishing, painting and assembly operations associated with the manufacture of industrial conveyor belt systems from the 1950s to early 1996 on the southeast portion of the site. In 1997, Reliable Steel, Inc. purchased this portion of the site. The Jervis B. Webb Company purchased the northwestern portion of the site in 1975 from Spear Industries. Blake Rivet Company, which produced aluminum and stainless steel aircraft rivets, leased the northwestern portion of the site until approximately 1981.

TCE has contaminated soil and ground water at the site. In 1997, TCE was detected in onsite soils at levels up to 270,000 ppb, and the contaminated soil was excavated, removed and backfilled with clean material in 1999. In 2002, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) issued a No Further Action letter for soil assessment and cleanup with the stipulation that ground water monitoring and investigation needed to be continued. TCE was detected in the ground water beneath the site at levels up to 35,000 ppb.

The RWQCB requested that the DTSC assume the lead on the Jervis B. Webb Co. site in 2007. The DTSC issued an order to the potentially responsible parties for the Jervis B. Webb Co. site to investigate and remediate the site, but no parties complied with the order. Since 2007, the DTSC has been unsuccessful in compelling the potentially responsible parties to conduct work at the site. Due to the lack of enforcement resources as well as the proximity of the site to the existing Cooper Drum NPL site, the DTSC requested that the EPA assume the lead for the site to ensure that investigation work continues and cleanup work begins.

Additional information supplied by the EPA regarding the Jervis B. Webb Co. site may be found here and here.

For additional information regarding this matter, please contact Eric Adair.

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