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Release Date: 4/7/1999
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

    SAN FRANCISCO -- In another step towards cleanup of the McCormick and Baxter
Superfund site, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a cleanup plan for soil, groundwater, and underwater sediment contamination at the site in Stockton, Calif.  

     "This is a significant milestone," said Keith Takata, the EPA's Superfund director. "Step by step we have rid this site of contamination. This plan will put a halt to the spread of toxics and protect public health and the environment."

     Under the plan, the EPA will cap contaminated sediments at the bottom of the Old Mormon Slough to isolate contaminants from fish and other aquatic organisms. A groundwater extraction and treatment system will be built to prevent contaminated groundwater from migrating further from the site. This is an interim action. A final groundwater remedy will be selected after studies are complete on a new cleanup technology that is being considered for the site.  The EPA will consolidate and cap contaminated soils at the site. These actions will cost between $21 and $24 million.

      The McCormick and Baxter Superfund site is a 29-acre former wood-preserving facility that operated from 1946 to 1990.  Since 1992, when the site was added to the EPA's Superfund National Priorities List, the EPA has removed toxic chemicals and sludge from the site, decontaminated and removed tanks, demolished buildings, installed groundwater monitoring wells, and capped the central area of the site with an asphalt cover.  The EPA also installed a 300-foot sheet piling wall along Old Mormon Slough and excavated oily material that was seeping into the slough.   The site's soil, groundwater, and Old Mormon Slough bottom sediment is contaminated with pentachlorophenol, dioxin, creosote, arsenic, chromium, and copper.

     In 1998, the California Department of Health Services issued a fish consumption warning urging people not to eat fish caught in Old Mormon Slough, New Mormon Slough, and the Stockton Deepwater Channel.  Fish caught in these waterways were found to be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin.  The warning remains in effect.  For more information regarding the fish consumption warning, local residents can call the San Joaquin County Public Health Services at 209-468-3450.

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