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Release Date: 3/31/1999
Contact Information: Randy Wittorp, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1589

     SAN FRANCISCO -- A major portion of groundwater in South Los Angeles will be restored to meet safe drinking water standards when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency implements the cleanup selected last night for the Montrose Chemical and Del Amo Superfund sites.  The groundwater is contaminated with chlorobenzene, benzene and other chemicals from former pesticide and rubber manufacturing.

     "This solution represents a positive and important step in the overall cleanup of these two sites," said Keith Takata, regional Superfund director for the EPA. "This work will protect the health of current and future generations and restore a portion of the groundwater basin."

     The EPA has two key strategies.  The first is to clean up groundwater, where possible, so that it's drinkable in the future.  In areas of groundwater where restoration is not feasible, both treatment and natural processes will prevent remaining contamination from spreading.  No one is presently using the contaminated groundwater from these sites.  Therefore, the public is not exposed to the contamination currently.

     Much of the water will be cleaned by pumping it to the surface, treating it and injecting it back into the ground.  After treatment, the water will meet safe drinking water standards and can be used as drinking water in the future.

     The EPA will monitor contamination over time and ensure that wells are not installed into the groundwater while it is being cleaned up.  The EPA expects the cleanup to cost approximately $30 million once it is designed and implemented.

     The former Montrose Chemical plant manufactured the pesticide DDT from 1947-1982, and the former Del Amo plant manufactured synthetic rubber from 1942-1972.

     The EPA proposed the treatment plan on June 26, 1998 and received comments from the public through August 30.  A formal public hearing was held in July.  Construction will begin in 2001. Members of the community are invited to participate in selecting the site for the treatment plant.  For more information, visit EPA's website at or call 1-800-231-3075.