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U.S. EPA seeks public comments on proposed cleanup for Romic facility in East Palo Alto

Release Date: 09/17/2007
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(09/17/07) SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today its proposed cleanup plan for the soil and groundwater contamination at the Romic Environmental Technologies Corporation facility in East Palo Alto, Calif.

“The proposed remedy incorporates an innovative biological treatment process to clean up the soil and groundwater.” said Nancy Lindsay, acting director of Waste Programs for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “This method is cost-effective and importantly, requires less energy than traditional pump and treat remedies.”

The proposal includes cleaning up contaminated soil and groundwater using enhanced biological treatment. The process uses cheese whey and molasses as a food source for natural microbes living in the soil and groundwater and breaks down the contaminants into carbon dioxide, water and salt. Tests of this technology at the Romic facility have shown as much as a 99 percent decrease in the amount of contamination.

The proposed remedy also includes soil excavation, land use restrictions limiting future property use, and a requirement for Romic to set aside financial resources to ensure the cleanup will be completed.
The contaminants at Romic are volatile organic compounds, which include dry cleaning chemicals, carburetor cleaning liquids, and paint thinners.

The EPA is the lead agency responsible for the cleanup and will hold a public meeting and hearing to explain the proposal. The meeting and hearing will be held on Wednesday, October 10, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at East Palo Alto City Hall located at 2415 University Avenue (First Floor - City Council Chambers and Community Room), East Palo Alto, California 94303.

Public comments on the proposal can be sent to EPA Project Manager Ron Leach, WST-5, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco CA, 94105, by fax to 415-947-3530, or by email to leach.ronald@epa.gov. The public comment period begins today and written comments must be postmarked, emailed or faxed no later than November 1, 2007. Oral and written comments will be accepted at the public hearing.

Romic is a 14-acre hazardous waste management facility located at the east end of Bay Road in East Palo Alto. Waste management practices dating back to the 1950s resulted in the contamination of soil and ground water below the facility. The EPA has been working with the City of East Palo Alto and community groups for over a decade to address environmental and health issues. Through EPA's Brownfields grants, worker training programs, asthma assessments and lead poisoning outreach, EPA has helped to revitalize the community.

For the proposed remedy and feature story and video, please go to: http://www.epa.gov/region09/waste/features/romic-paloalto/


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