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Over 280 haz waste generators agree to pay $6.1M

Release Date: 04/13/2006
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815

SAN FRANCISCO – Last Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed two settlements totaling $6.1 million with 283 small waste generators that will help pay for the ongoing cleanup of the Casmalia Resources Superfund Site, near Santa Maria, Calif.

The first settlement – valued at $1.8 million – is with a group of 26 de minimis parties that received settlement offers in 1999 or 2000, but whose settlements were delayed pending resolution of various issues raised by the parties. The second, $4.3 million settlement is with a group of 257 de minimis parties that received settlement offers in April. Both settlements resolve the parties’ liability for cleanup costs at the site and for potential federal natural resource damage claims.

"In one fell swoop we’re releasing hundreds of small parties from liability at the site while securing more funding to address soil and groundwater contamination," said Keith Takata, the EPA’s Superfund Division Director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Both of these agreements provide much-needed funding to continue cleanup activities at one of the state's most complex hazardous waste sites."

California has incurred and will incur costs at the site, and also has potential natural resource damages claims. The state participated in the second settlement, and parties that elected to settle their state liability will make additional payments to the participating state regulatory entities.

Today's announcement is part of an ongoing EPA effort to secure funding for the cleanup of the 252-acre landfill, which was designated as a federal Superfund site in September 2001.

The Casmalia Resources site, located 10 miles from Santa Maria, Calif. was an active hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility from 1973 to 1989. The site accepted approximately 5.6 billion pounds of waste from about 10,000 contributors, placing it in 92 waste management facilities that included landfills, ponds, shallow wells, and treatment units.

In 1991, the site owner/operator abandoned efforts to clean up and close the facility, claiming financial difficulties. In 1992, the EPA took action to control the site and address immediate health threats. The site, which is contaminated with a variety of metals, pesticides and other toxic materials, continues to undergo investigation and cleanup work by the Casmalia Steering Committee with oversight by the EPA and the state.

The proposed settlements, fact sheets and other site information are available at the EPA's information repositories at the Santa Maria Library, 420 South Broadway, Santa Maria, Calif., and the EPA’s Records Center, 95 Hawthorne St., San Francisco.

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