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U.S. EPA orders companies to remove DDT-contaminated soil

Release Date: 11/22/2005
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815, Cell: (213) 798-1404

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered three entities to remove contaminated soil piles from an industrial parcel outside Torrance and arrange for the disposal of the soil at a regulated hazardous waste landfill.

The EPA order requires Ecology Control Industries, Ronald Flury and Montrose Chemical Corporation to remove between 4,000 to 5,000 tons of soil from the ECI property at 20846 Normandie Avenue in Los Angeles County, and fill and cover the open excavations. The excavated soil is contaminated with DDT and other hazardous substances. The EPA believes the DDT was released into storm drains in the 1950's through the 1980's from the Montrose Chemical DDT manufacturing plant located less than one mile to the north of the ECI Property, also in Los Angeles County.

The EPA estimates the removal and disposal of the piles to cost roughly $1.6 million. Failure to comply with the EPA order could result in fines up to $32,500 per day per violation.

"We want the soil removed and properly disposed of before the height of the rainy season," said Keith Takata, director of the EPA's Superfund program in the Pacific Southwest Office. "We will continue to do all we can to prevent people from coming in contact with DDT contamination, or letting it wash into local waterways."

Although the soil piles are currently covered, several homes are adjacent to the soil piles and open excavations. In addition, winter weather could result in material from the soil piles entering storm drains leading to the Port of Los Angeles.

The soil piles, located at an industrial property several blocks from the Montrose Plant Property, were created when the landowner was conducting environmental assessment activities in preparation for a potential property sale earlier this year.

The three parties have failed to conduct this work voluntarily.

Montrose Chemical Corporation of California manufactured DDT from 1947 until 1982 at a plant located at 20201 Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles County, near the city of Torrance. The 13-acre former plant property located in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles was named a federal Superfund site in 1989.

Copies of the EPA order, as well as other information on the Montrose Superfund Site, are available at the EPA information repositories located at the Torrance Civic Center and Carson Public Libraries.

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