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EPA Orders Cleanup Design For Montrose Site

Release Date: 5/12/2003
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, 415-947-4307

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has issued a unilateral administrative order to Montrose Chemical Corporation of California to perform initial design work on the system to clean up contaminated groundwater at the Montrose Superfund Site and at the adjacent Del Amo Superfund Site in Los Angeles County.
     "This order represents a critical step forward in the groundwater cleanup to help protect the groundwater resource in southern Los Angeles County," says Elizabeth Adams, chief of the EPA's Superfund Site Cleanup Branch in the Pacific Southwest.
     Montrose voluntarily began to design the system last August and the EPA is issuing the order today so that it can appropriately manage the work, and so that the work being conducted by Montrose is clearly defined.  
     In addition to Montrose, Shell Oil Company and the EPA will conduct portions of the  design work consisting of detailed planning and engineering that will allow the actual groundwater treatment systems to be constructed. The groundwater remedial design work is expected to cost between $2 million and $3 million over two to three years.
    The EPA issued a record of decision selecting cleanup actions for contaminated groundwater at the Montrose and Del Amo Superfund Sites in 1999.  The groundwater at the sites is contaminated with benzene and chlorobenzene as well as other hazardous substances. The groundwater would pose a significant risk should anyone use it for drinking water but groundwater at and in the vicinity of the sites is not currently being used as a source of drinking water in part because of the contamination.
     The Montrose Superfund Site was added to the EPA National Priorities List in 1989 and the Del Amo site was added to the NPL in 2002. Montrose Chemical Corporation operated a DDT manufacturing facility at 20201 Normandie Avenue in Los Angeles County California from 1947 until 1982. DDT, chlorobenzene and other hazardous substances were released to the soil and groundwater at the Montrose plant.
     At what became the Del Amo Superfund Site, a synthetic rubber facility owned by the federal government was located on 280 acres near the Montrose plant.  Shell Oil Company purchased that facility in 1955 and operated it until 1972.  Benzene and other hazardous substances were released to the soil and groundwater at the Del Amo plant.