Thursday, January 19, 2012

Responsible Parties in Omega Superfund Site May Be on the Hook for $70 million

By: Duane Craig

The Omega Chemical Corporation Superfund site in Whittier, California, needs $70 million to cleanup the volatile organic compounds in the ground water, according to a recent report at 89.3 KPCC, Southern California Public Radio. The plume of contamination extends 4.5 miles in a southwesterly direction, at least to Los Nietos Road.

Cleanup of the soil and above-ground area began in 1995. More than 100 potentially responsible parties banded together to "remove and treat 3,000 drums of hazardous waste, 60 cubic yards of hardened resin material, hundreds of empty contaminated drums, numerous cylinders and various other smaller containers." The group also emptied two rainwater sumps and four evaporators. It cleaned two cooling towers, removed 67 refrigerant gas cylinders and disposed of 40,000 gallons of contaminated liquids, according to the history of the site kept by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Whittier, Ca needs $70 million to cleanup superfund site

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control had been alerted to problems at the business in the 1980s, and during the 1990s, the department had tried unsuccessfully to get the operators of the facility to remove wastes and clean up the site. The business recycled refrigerants and solvents from 1976 to 1991. Spills and leaks led to soil contamination with tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, trichloroethylene, or TCE, Freons 11 and 113 and other contaminants. One of the operable units managed by the EPA is addressing vapor intrusion in several buildings along the perimeter of the Omega property, while the other two operable units focus on the ground water contamination.

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