EPA reaches settlement for groundwater cleanup at Los Angeles area Superfund sites

August 19, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) have reached a $56.6 million settlement with Montrose Chemical Corp. of California, Bayer CropScience Inc., TFCF America Inc., Stauffer Management Co. LLC, and JCI Jones Chemicals Inc. for further clean-up work of contaminated groundwater at the Dual Site Groundwater Operable Unit of the Montrose Chemical Corp. and Del Amo Superfund Sites (also known as the Dual Site) in Los Angeles County, California.

This work will include operating and maintaining the primary groundwater treatment system for the remedy selected in the 1999 Dual Site clean-up plan. The settlement also includes payment to the EPA of $4 million in past costs, another payment of costs incurred by DTSC, and payment of the EPA’s and DTSC’s future oversight costs.

“This settlement ensures the long-term operation of the groundwater cleanup system,” said John Busterud, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is committed to the removal of contaminants from our groundwater in Los Angeles County.”

Groundwater at the Dual Site is contaminated with hazardous substances from industrial operations, including chlorobenzene from the former Montrose facility where DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane)was manufactured, benzene from the Del Amo facility where synthetic rubber was manufactured, and trichloroethylene (TCE) related to several facilities. The settlement specifically addresses the chlorobenzene plume, which refers to the entire distribution of chlorobenzene in groundwater at the Dual Site and all other contaminants that are commingled with the chlorobenzene.

Clean-up activities involve pumping the groundwater in the chlorobenzene plume and treating it to federal and State of California clean-up standards identified in the 1999 remedy. The treated water will then be reinjected into the aquifer outside of the contaminated groundwater area.

The objective is to contain a zone of groundwater contamination surrounding source areas (also known as the containment zone) and clean up the chlorobenzene plume outside of that zone. Containment will occur soon after pumping operations begin, and cleanup of groundwater beyond the containment zone is expected to take approximately 50 years to complete.

In addition, EPA will pursue settlements with other parties to conduct clean-up work selected for the benzene and TCE plumes in the Dual Site clean-up plan.

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