As mark of progress, U.S. EPA reclassifies Beckman Instruments Superfund site
Porterville site among 27 fully or partially removed from National Priorities List
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deleted the land portion of the Beckman Instruments site in Porterville, Calif., from the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The groundwater portion of the site will remain on the NPL until it meets California’s drinking water standards.
EPA deletes sites or parts of sites from the NPL when no further cleanup is required to protect human health or the environment. Since October 2018, EPA has deleted all or part of 27 sites across the country from the NPL. This represents the third year in a row that EPA has significantly increased the number of sites deleted from the NPL, helping communities move forward in reusing and redeveloping the land.
“We have completed cleanup of the contaminated soil at the Beckman site and are pleased that this land is now available for unrestricted use in the city of Porterville,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “This represents an important step toward creating a safer and healthier environment for the community.”
"We are pleased and appreciative of EPA's support in its determination of the partial deletion and the removal of the soil portion of the Beckman Site, given the responsible parties having implemented all required response actions and no further action being appropriate, and that the release posed no significant threat to public health or the environment,” said City of Porterville City Manager John D. Lollis. “The determination will be helpful with furthering economic development activities in the surrounding area."
The Beckman Instruments site manufactured electronic instruments and circuit boards, which resulted in groundwater and soil contamination. The site was added to the NPL in 1986 because the plant’s operations contaminated the soil with lead and the groundwater with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily 1,1-dichloroethene.
The final soil cleanup began in 2015 and was completed in 2017. Contaminated soil was excavated and transported to a regulated landfill. Contaminated groundwater was pumped from the ground, treated, and discharged into infiltration basins. In 2005, the groundwater cleanup remedy was revised to a process called monitored natural attenuation, where natural processes such as biodegradation reduce the contamination in groundwater. The groundwater is expected to reach the drinking water standard of six parts per billion within 10 years.
EPA, in consultation with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, determined that the land portion of the Beckman site remedy is complete, and no further action is needed. The site is ready for reuse with no restrictions while the groundwater portion remains on the NPL until it reaches cleanup standards. In February, EPA published a Notice of Intent to delete the soil portion of the Beckman site, and invited the public to provide comment on the proposal. Two comments were submitted, both in support of EPA’s proposed action.
While EPA encourages site reuse throughout the cleanup process, deletions from the NPL can help revitalize communities and promote economic growth by signaling to potential developers and financial institutions that cleanup is complete. Over the past several years, the agency has focused on streamlining the deletion process and increasing the number of opportunities to demonstrate to communities that cleanup is complete. Additional information about EPA’s NPL deletions can be found on-line.