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NPL Site Narrative for Casmalia Resources

Casmalia, California

Federal Register Notice:  September 13, 2001 (PDF) (9 pp, 193K, About PDF)

Conditions at Proposal (June 14, 2001): The Casmalia Resources site occupies approximately 250 acres in a rural area of the Casmalia Hills in Santa Barbara County, California. It is surrounded by approximately 4,645 acres of cattle grazing land. The nearest population center is the unincorporated community of Casmalia, located approximately 1.2 miles south/southeast of the site. From 1973 to 1989, the Casmalia Resources Hazardous Waste Management Facility operated on the site. During its 16 years of operation, this facility accepted more than 4.5 billion pounds of industrial and commercial wastes. The wastes included pesticides, solvents, acids, metals, caustics, cyanide, and non-liquid polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The following waste management units were used for the storage, treatment, and disposal of the wastes: five landfills (PCB Landfill, Pesticide/Solvent Landfill, Metals Landfill, Caustic/Cyanide Landfill, and Acids Landfill), seven waste burial trenches (Burial Cells Unit), 11 shallow waste disposal wells, 43 waste storage/evaporation ponds, 15 evaporation pads, seven oil field waste spreading areas, and three hazardous waste treatment units. Historic site operations have resulted in the contamination of habitat for a Federal designated threatened species [California red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytonii)].

The owners/operators stopped accepting waste at the facility in 1989, and effectively abandoned efforts to properly close and clean up the site in the early 1990s. From 1992 to 1996, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted site stabilization activities, as part of an emergency response action. In 1996, the U.S. EPA negotiated a settlement with a group of major waste generators known as the Casmalia Steering Committee. The settlement is embodied in a Consent Decree and its Statement of Work (SOW) that promote a long-term cleanup approach comprised of containing the contaminated land masses and controlling the movement of contaminated ground water. Objectives of the SOW include construction of caps and buttresses to stabilize and contain the five inactive landfills, and maintenance of the following subsurface liquids extraction facilities that are currently on site: the Gallery Well, which extracts contaminated liquids at the toe of the Pesticide/Landfill; Sump 9B, which extracts contaminated liquids in the vicinity of a former evaporation pad (Pad 9B); the Perimeter Source Control Trench (PSCT), which intercepts contaminated liquids from the Burial Cells Unit, former storage evaporation/ponds, and the landfills; and the Plume Capture Collection Trenches (PCT-A, PCT-B, and PCT-C), which capture ground water migrating from the southern boundary of the site.

In addition to the inactive waste management units and active subsurface liquids extraction facilities, there are five ponds on site [i.e., Pond A-5, Pond 18, Pond 13, A-Series Pond, and Runoff Control Facility (RCF) Pond] used for stormwater runoff control and the disposal of liquids from the extraction facilities. From 1995 to 1998, treated effluent from the Gallery Well and Sump 9B were disposed of in Pond A-5. Although the liquids were treated before discharge into the pond, the treatment standards (i.e., Land Disposal Restriction standards for F039 hazardous wastes) allowed for the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the effluent. Analytical results of semi-annual monitoring events, which have been conducted since 1997, indicate the presence of VOCs in Pond A-5 at concentrations significantly above background levels. Results of field surveys, which were conducted by a consultant to the Casmalia Steering Committee in April 1999, documented the presence of between seven and 11 adult and subadult California red-legged frogs along the shoreline of the pond.

Status (September 2001): EPA is considering various alternatives for this site.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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