Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
Coalinga Asbestos Mine
EPA #: CAD980817217
City: 17 miles northwest of Coalinga
Congressional District: 20
Other Names: Johns-Manville Mill Area, Southern Pacific Land Company, City of Coalinga, Arroyo Pasajero
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Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 09/08/83
Final Date: 09/21/84
Deleted Date: 04/24/98
The Coalinga Asbestos Mine site covers 120 acres near Coalinga. The mill was operated by the Coalinga Asbestos Company as a joint venture between the Johns-Manville Sales Corporation, the Kern County Land Company, and private investors from 1962 to 1974, when the mill property reverted to the Southern Pacific Land Company (SPLC). SPLC leased the facility to the Marmac Resource Company for chromite mining in 1975. All operations ceased in 1977. The site consists of partially demolished mill buildings and a process waste mine tailings pile that occupies about 20 acres. Two large open-pit mines are located above the mill site and were used as the sources of ore for the Coalinga Asbestos Company milling operations. While the mill was operating, some milling and mining products from Coalinga and from the Atlas Asbestos Mine, located about 3 miles away, were transported to the City of Coalinga. Because these two mines contributed to the contamination of a 107-acre area in Coalinga, the contamination in Coalinga is also being cleaned up. (For additional information, please see the separate listing for Atlas Asbestos Mine site.) The area surrounding the Coalinga Asbestos Mine is primarily rural. The land is used for ranching, farming, and recreational activities such as hunting. About 10 ranchers live within 5 miles of the site. The closest community is Coalinga, located approximately 16 miles away. The City of Coalinga has a population of approximately 19,000 people.
Contaminants and Risks
- Surface Water
- Soil and Sludges
Air, soils, sediments, and surface water contain asbestos. People who come into direct contact with, accidentally ingest, or inhale contaminated surface water, sediments, soil, or air may be at risk.
Who is Involved
This site is being addressed through Federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.
Investigation and Cleanup Activities
The site was addressed in two long-term remedial phases directed at cleanup of the Coalinga Asbestos Mine (Johns-Manville Mill) and the City of Coalinga contaminated areas.
Coalinga Asbestos Mine: Under EPA supervision, the potentially responsible parties (PRP) for contamination at the Coalinga Asbestos Mine investigated the nature and extent of contamination. The cleanup remedy, selected in 1991, includes diverting the stream flow away from the tailings pile by building a cross-canyon stream diversion, minimizing the release of asbestos into a nearby creek by improving the existing sediment trapping dam, paving the road through the Mill Area to suppress dust, dismantling the mill building and disposing of the debris, and limiting access to the site by erecting a fence and placing deed restrictions on the property. The design of the remedy was completed in early 1994 and cleanup activities were completed in the fall of 1995. On November 21, 1998, a Notice of Intent to Delete the Coalinga Asbestos Mine site was published in the Federal Registry. The public comment period ended on December 21, 1998 and EPA responded to comments received. The Coalinga Asbestos Mine site was formally deleted from the National Priorities List on April 24, 1998. EPA bases its decision to delete the site on the criterion that the responsible parties have implemented all appropriate response actions required for the site. Even if a site is deleted from the NPL, where hazardous substance, pollutants, or contaminants remain at the site above levels that allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure, EPA's policy is that a subsequent review of the site will be conducted at least every five years after the initiation of the remedial action at the site to ensure that the site remains protective of public health and the environment. The second five-year review for the Coalinga Asbestos Mine Superfund site was completed on September 28, 2006. The review concluded that the remedy for the site continued to be protective of human health and the environment.
City of Coalinga Contaminated Area: In 1989, the EPA selected a remedy to clean up the 107 acres of contamination in the City of Coalinga that resulted from the Atlas and Coalinga asbestos mines. The remedy included excavating and consolidating approximately 20,000 cubic yards of asbestos, chromium, and nickel-contaminated soil and building debris; building an underground waste management unit (WMU) to contain and dispose of contaminated soil and waste on site; covering the WMU area with an impermeable cap; regrading the excavated area; decontaminating the debris; monitoring the soil, groundwater, and air; and implementing deed restrictions on the use of the land. The PRPs for the site contamination began cleanup activities under EPA oversight in 1990 and completed activities in 1993. The Five-Year Review for Atlas and Coalinga Asbestos Mine sites, completed on September 28, 2006, found that EPA policy had changed regarding the protectiveness of the 1% asbestos cleanup level that was set in the ROD for the City of Coalinga OU for the soils in the area outside the WMU and recommended that additional work be done to assure that the cleanup is protective. EPA subsequently conducted further soil and activity-based air sampling to determine whether the City of Coalinga OU presented any exposure issues of concern. The results of the sampling showed that the cleanup of the site continued to be protective of human health and the environment and no further remedial action was necessary.
Cleanup Results to Date
The Coalinga Asbestos Mine Superfund site contains two operable units (OUs): the Coalinga Asbestos/Johns-Manville Mill and the City of Coalinga property. The Coalinga Mine Johns-Manville Mill cleanup was completed in 1995. The remediation of the Coalinga City site was completed in 1993. The State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control has assumed oversight of Operation and Maintenance for this site. On November 21, 1998, a Notice of Intent to Delete this site was published in the Federal Registry. The public comment period ended on December 21, 1997 and EPA responded to comments received. The Coalinga Asbestos Mine site was formally deleted from the National Priorities List on April 24, 1998. EPA bases its decision to delete the site on the criterion that the responsible parties have implemented all appropriate response actions required for the site. Even if a site is deleted from the NPL, where hazardous substance, pollutants, or contaminants remain at the site above levels that allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure, EPA's policy is that a subsequent review of the site will be conducted at least every five years after the initiation of the remedial action at the site to ensure that the site remains protective of public health and the environment. The last Five-Year Review for the Coalinga Mine site was completed on September 28, 2006. While it was determined that the remedies in place at the Johns-Manville Mill OU remains protective of human health and the environment, the review noted that EPA policy had changed regarding the protectiveness of the 1% asbestos cleanup level that was set for the City of Coalinga OU and recommended that additional work be done to assure that the cleanup is protective. EPA completed this work in 2009, and determined that the cleanup is protective.
The most recent Five-Year Review of the remedy at the Coalinga Asbestos Mine Superfund Site was completed in August 2011. The remedy is working as designed and is protective of human health and the environment. EPA noted operational recommendations in the report that will be completed. The next review for the site will be completed by September 2016.
Potentially Responsible Parties
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.
Pine Canyon Land Company, Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, Catellus Development Corporation, Southern Pacific Transportation Company
Documents and Reports
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
Coalinga District Library,
305 North 4th Street,
Coalinga, CA 93210
Kings County Library
401 North Douty
Hanford, CA 93230
Avenal Public Library
501 East Kings
Avenal, CA 93204
Huron City Hall
36311 Lassen Avenue
Huron, CA 93234
EPA Site Manager
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
8800 Cal Center Drive
Sacramento, CA 95826-3200
After Hours (Emergency Response)