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Release Date: 8/15/1997
Contact Information: Paula Bruin, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1587

     (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced it is proposing to amend the Montrose Superfund Site listing to include the DDT and PCB-contaminated area of the ocean floor off the Palos Verdes Peninsula near Los Angeles.

     "This action will speed the cleanup of  the Palos Verdes shelf," said John Wise, U.S. EPA's deputy regional administrator.  "It will allow U.S. EPA to bring all its resources to bear to address this important threat to public health and ecosystems of the area."

     A DDT and PCB-contaminated sediment deposit covers 17 square miles of the ocean floor in coastal waters off Palos Verdes Peninsula. The highest levels of contamination are found in about a three square mile area of the deposit.  In July 1996, U.S. EPA began investigating the contaminated sediments to determine the most effective cleanup.  Cleanup options include covering the contaminated sediments with clean dredge material and reinforcing fishing restrictions which would reduce the consumption of contaminated fish.

     The now banned pesticide DDT was manufactured by the Montrose Chemical Corp., Torrance, Calif., from 1947 to 1982.  Montrose discharged wastewater from DDT production to the Los Angeles sewer system that empties into the Pacific Ocean.  PCBs, a toxic industrial chemical used by several plant sites in the Los Angeles area, also were discharged into the sewer system.  The Montrose site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989.

      Approximately 100 metric tons of DDT contaminate the ocean  floor, endangering marine life and birds.  Although concentrations of DDT have dropped significantly since the discharge was eliminated in the early 1970s, this DDT, along with 10 metric tons of PCBs from other sources, continues to significantly affect the marine environment and poses significant risk to individuals who consume fish from the area.

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