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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA kicks-off cleanup at West Oakland Superfund site

03/18/2017
Contact Information: 
Michele Huitric (huitric.michele@epa.gov)
415-972-3165

SAN FRANCISCO –  Today U.S. EPA Acting Regional Administrator Alexis Strauss joined local leaders and community members in Oakland to celebrate the installation and start-up of a new groundwater and soil treatment system at the AMCO Chemical Superfund Site. Today’s event, which included information booths and tours of the site for community members, was the culmination of a year-long design and construction process.

"Starting up the treatment system marks another step toward a healthier, cleaner neighborhood for West Oakland,” said Ms. Strauss. “I applaud the many community members who have been engaged in and committed to the cleanup work that has taken place here over the years."

The AMCO cleanup builds on more than two decades of EPA’s efforts to protect public health and the environment in Oakland. EPA has awarded Cypress Mandela Training Center $1.6 million in grants since 1998, to train low-income, unemployed residents and veterans of Oakland in hazardous waste management and cleanup. Since 2005, EPA has supported community efforts to identify and reduce exposure to toxic pollution, including more than $600,000 in grants to the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and others to reduce diesel pollution. In 2012, EPA completed an innovative project using fish bones to address lead contamination in South Prescott neighborhood soil. Currently, EPA is collaborating with community and partner agencies at the federal, state and local level to combat air pollution related to truck, rail, and boat transport at the Port of Oakland. 

The AMCO Superfund site was owned and operated by AMCO Chemical as a distribution facility from 1960 to 1989. Bulk chemicals were off-loaded from a rail spur onsite and stored in drums and storage tanks before being transferred to smaller containers for resale; contaminants were released into the soil and groundwater during operations. Since 1997, EPA has overseen two previous cleanup actions at and adjacent to the site.

For the current cleanup, EPA has installed 69 underground electrodes throughout the site. These electrodes heat the soil and groundwater to temperatures of up to 100°C (212°F) to vaporize and capture con­taminants, such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and vinyl chloride. The contaminated material is then collected and transported offsite for safe disposal.

To keep the community informed on the cleanup’s progress, EPA is maintaining a public website that provides continuous updates on data related to the treatment system, such as temperature and contaminant levels. EPA is also using an innovative monitoring system to continuously check for chemical levels in the air within and around the site to ensure public safety during treatment. EPA’s goal is to finish treatment by the end of 2017.

You can learn more about the AMCO Superfund Site here: https://yosemite.epa.gov/r9/sfund/r9sfdocw.nsf/ViewByEPAID/CA0001576081

Cleanup status can be found here: https://response.epa.gov/AMCONPL

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