Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
Waste Disposal, Inc.
EPA #: CAD980884357
County: Los Angeles
City: Santa Fe Springs
Congressional District: 34
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Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 06/10/86
Final Date: 07/22/87
The Waste Disposal, Inc. (WDI) Superfund site is located in the City of Santa Fe Springs, on approximately 38 acres of land divided into multiple parcels. The site consists of 22 individual parcels of land that are owned by as many as 20 landowners. Owners and tenants operate roughly 35 onsite small businesses that around the perimeter of the site. A high school with athletic fields is located immediately adjacent to the northeast corner of the site. A residential area is located just across the street to the east of the site.
At its center, the WDI site contains a buried 42-million gallon capacity concrete-lined reservoir originally constructed for crude petroleum storage. The reservoir - also called “the dial” - was decommissioned in the late 1920s, but was used until the mid-1960s for disposal of a variety of hazardous substances including both liquid and solid wastes. Wastes disposed of at the site include petroleum-related chemicals, solvents, sludges, construction debris, drilling muds, and other waste materials. Historical aerial photographs show that liquids were discharged to the reservoir and into some areas surrounding the reservoir. The reservoir and portions of the site area were covered with soil during the 1960s. Soil borings indicate that the reservoir is covered by five to ten feet of fill soil. The 15,000 residents of Santa Fe Springs obtain drinking water from wells within three miles of the site. The closest residence is within 50 yards of the site.
Contaminants and Risks
- Soil and Sludges
Soil Contamination: Soils is contaminated with metals, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most of the contamination has been detected in subsurface soils, which are covered with relatively clean fill. However, EPA has historically been concerned that people could be exposed to potential health hazards by accidentally ingesting or coming into direct contact with contaminants in the soil beneath the surface.
EPA has used data that was collected during initial remedial investigations and substantiated during subsequent site investigation to identify chemicals of concern in soil, soil gas, and groundwater. The chemicals of concern (COCs) identified in soil include 11 metals, 7 chlorinated pesticides, 16 VOCs, PAHs, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). COCs identified for soil gas include benzene, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, 1,2-dibromoethane, tetrachloroethylene (PCE), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), trichloroethene (TCE), 1,2-dichloropropane, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylenes, and vinyl chloride. Although regional groundwater contamination is present in the vicinity of the site, EPA has determined based on available information that the WDI site has not contributed to groundwater contamination.
Who is Involved
This site is being addressed through Federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.
Immediate Action: Early in the remedial process, EPA took immediate action to secure the site and limit access to potential sources of exposure. The EPA erected a fence around the site in 1988 to prevent the potential for direct contact with site contaminants. EPA placed multilingual signs at the site to inform the public of potential health risks.
Initial RI/FS: In 1988 and 1989, the EPA conducted a remedial investigation (RI) to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site and to identify possible long-term cleanup actions. The 1989 RI Report concluded that the main potential source of contamination was the reservoir; however, it also identified areas outside of the reservoir that were potential sources of subsurface (i.e. under the ground's surface) contamination at the site. The EPA's RI Report concluded that several areas surrounding the reservoir were used as unlined containment ponds for waste disposal and that other areas may have been contaminated by the migration of subsurface liquid wastes or gases.
Initial Remedy Selected: Late in 1993, the EPA issued a document called a Record of Decision (ROD) that selected an environmental remedy to address soils and subsurface gas at the site. This remedy consisted of building a hazardous waste cap, with gas extraction and treatment, if necessary. The purpose of such capping systems is to contain waste materials and minimize the potential for surface water, such as rainwater, to move through the soil, mix with waste, and then enter groundwater. Caps are also intended to prevent the release of any gases (soil vapor) that may build up underground.
Further Site Investigation: After the 1993 Record of Decision was signed and the design of the remedy was underway, new information about the extent of contamination at the site became available. Between 1997 and 1999, the EPA and the Waste Disposal, Inc. Group (WDIG) renewed their investigative efforts to learn more about the amount and types of waste buried at the WDI site. This information was used to reevaluate and revise the remedial design for the site. The 1997-1998 Remedial Design (RD) investigative studies provided considerable additional data about the extent of buried wastes, the extent of subsurface liquids, and the extent of subsurface gas in the reservoir and surrounding areas. Subsequent subsurface soil samples indicated that an estimated 80% of the site contains buried waste at depths ranging from 5-30 feet, and that buried wastes are present underneath many of the buildings located on the site. The reservoir contains pockets of liquid waste and some of the buried wastes outside of the reservoir also contain liquids. By 1999, WDIG had completed a subsurface soil gas investigation and several related studies. The soil gas investigation revealed the presence of VOCs – primarily benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethene (TCE), and tetrachloroethene (PCE) – and methane in subsurface gases. Elevated levels of these contaminants were detected both inside the reservoir and in localized areas outside of the reservoir, including near some on-site buildings.
Amended Remedy Selected: The WDIG completed a Remedial Design Investigative Activities Summary Report in May 2001. The report highlights the key findings of recent and past investigations conducted at the site. Using the information from investigations performed at the site, the WDIG then prepared a Supplemental Feasibility Study (SFS), which evaluated a variety of cleanup options for the site. Based on the results of the SFS, EPA developed a preferred alternative for cleanup of the site. EPA presented the preferred alternative was presented to the public and community for comment in the Proposed Plan, which was issued as a Fact Sheet in May 2001. EPA held a public comment period on the Proposed Plan from June 1, 2001 to July 2, 2001 and accepted comments on the preferred alternative in writing and orally. EPA also conducted a public hearing on June 14, 2001 in Whittier, California.
Amended Record of Decision (AROD): The Amended Record of Decision (AROD) was signed one year later in June 2002. The AROD presents a selected remedy with the following major components:
1. A multi-layer engineered cap that meets Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) standards, over the reservoir and selected areas outside the reservoir
2. Graded soil, asphalt, concrete, or building foundations covering other areas outside the reservoir
3. Landfill gas extraction, collection, and treatment
4. Leachate and free liquids collection for off-site treatment and disposal
5. Physical barriers or venting systems at or within existing or new buildings to prevent exposure to indoor air contamination or demolition of buildings where this is not feasible
6. Bioventing wells or soil vapor extraction systems along the perimeter of the waste near buildings to prevent migration of landfill gas
7. Institutional controls including zoning ordinances, access controls, and use restrictions to ensure the integrity of the remedy over time
8. Long-term monitoring to ensure that the site is not contaminating groundwater
9. Long-term operations and maintenance to ensure the remedy continues to function effectively
Please see the AROD for the specific and complete language of the document's provisions.
Settlement Negotiations with PRPs: A primary goal of the Superfund law is to ensure that parties with some responsibility for the contamination of a site (referred to as “potentially responsible parties” or “PRPs”) pay for and participate in the cleanup of the relevant site. EPA has negotiated a variety of negotiated settlements with several groups of PRPs at the WDI site.
WDIG Consent Decree: During 2002 and 2003, EPA negotiated a settlement agreement with the Waste Disposal, Inc. Group, a group of the major site PRPs, to pay for and perform long-term response actions at the WDI site. The settlement resulted in a formal consent decree that addressed the planning and implementation of the cleanup work as well as long-term operations, maintenance, and monitoring activities. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered the consent decree on August 12, 2003. The WDIG agreed to perform the remedial action for the site, including construction of the remedy, long-term monitoring, operation and maintenance, and long-term monitoring and enforcement of institutional controls. Consistent with the Superfund law, the WDIG received in return a number of releases and protections from further liability.
Landowner Consent Decrees: Between 2004 and 2007, EPA settled its claims against a number of current and former landowners at the site. In 2004, EPA entered into eleven consent decrees that provided EPA and WDIG with long-term access to fourteen site parcels and required implementation of institutional controls. For each affected parcel, the institutional controls included environmental restriction covenants, which were recorded with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office and established certain requirements for public notification and land use restrictions designed to protect the remedial systems into the future. EPA also entered into three consent decrees with other landowners for access, institutional controls, and cost recovery.
Remedial Design Phase:
Planning for Potential Future Redevelopment: The City of Santa Fe Springs has been interested in encouraging beneficial reuse at the WDI site for many years. Consistent with the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, EPA supports appropriate efforts to restore Superfund sites for beneficial reuse. In 2000, EPA awarded a Superfund site redevelopment grant to the City of Santa Fe Springs to help it them conduct a community-oriented planning process aimed at identifying most appropriate the best end-use for the site. The process led to the City designating the site for industrial reuse, and the City embarked upon a process to prepare a specific land use plan for the WDI site.
Santa Fe Springs Specific Use Plan: With funding from EPA, the City prepared a formal specific use plan for the WDI site. EPA and the WDIG coordinated the City throughout the planning process to help maintain consistency between the remedial design and the City’s land use plan. The City’s municipal council adopted the WDI site Specific Use Plan on May 13, 2004. The plan prohibits future residential land uses and provides guidelines and requirements regarding future industrial redevelopment at the site. It also places certain restrictions that are intended to help protect the environmental remedy. EPA encourages interested members of the public to contact the City to obtain a copy of this plan.
Remedial Design (RD): The WDIG prepared the engineering design package for the environmental remedy and EPA approved the final package in June 2003. The RD encompassed the remedial components specified in the Amended Record of Decision (AROD). The remedial design uses several types of engineered capping systems, including (1) a highly protective, multi-layered RCRA Subtitle C-equivalent cap for the central reservoir area (“the dial), (2) a multi-layered RCRA Subtitle D-equivalent cap overlying waste materials outside of the dial, and (3) asphalt and concrete RCRA Subtitle D-equivalent capping materials surrounding existing buildings in the site perimeter. Much of the central portion of the site is topped with a grassy, vegetative soil cover that is slightly mounded to prevent ponding of water and facilitate stormwater drainage. The design includes stormwater and sediment control features to help remove stormwater from the site. The RD also included an active soil vapor gas collection and treatment system that uses a central pumping system to pump soil gas through a star-shaped, radial pipeline system to a treatment system located at the center of the dial. The treatment system consists of a small granular activated charcoal filtration system. For work close to existing buildings, the WDIG developed parcel-specific work plans that described the procedures for installing asphalt and/or concrete capping materials for each parcel. The design also called for construction work inside existing buildings to seal cracks and improve floor materials so that existing foundations could serve as capping material.
Pursuant to its consent decree the WDIG agreed to perform the remedial action for the site, including construction of the remedy and long-term monitoring, operations, maintenance and enforcement of institutional controls.
Remedial Action (RA) Phase: The remedial action at the WDI site included development of a detailed work plan, completion of physical construction, start-up testing, and initial “shake-down” operations.
Remedial Construction Activities: WDIG’s team of contractors began remedial action construction in March 2004. and proceeded in accordance with the approved remedial design. As the lead agency, EPA coordinated closely with federal, state, and municipal agencies which have interests or oversight roles at the site. EPA established an interagency committee that reviewed project planning and design deliverables and provided oversight during construction. The EPA also contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to provide field oversight and inspection services during the construction phase of the project.
EPA and USACE determined that the WDIG construction team successfully completed the following key activities during construction of the remedy:
· Excavation and re-compaction of contaminated soil and other unsuitable materials under the new landfill cover in order to achieve design-specified contouring and grade levels.
· Reconditioning of large quantities of existing buried construction debris and large chunks of concrete for cost-effective use in building the cover foundations.
· Backfilling of excavated areas with suitable materials.
· Installation of geosynthetic materials (e.g., geosynthetic clay liner and HDPE geomembrane) that function as barrier components in the RCRA-C and RCRA-D equivalent final covers.
· Implementation of engineering controls, i.e., crack-sealing of parcel-specific building foundations that will serve as final covers.
· Installation of asphalt and concrete RCRA-equivalent covers in commercial areas on the site.
· Installation of landfill gas extraction and treatment systems for the area overlain by the RCRA-C equivalent cover.
· Initial revegetation and landscaping of final covers and areas directly adjacent to a neighboring high school.
Start-up Testing: The WDIG construction team began operations of the gas extraction and treatment systems in March 2005. Operations were preceded by comprehensive mechanical and electrical inspections and equipment performance testing. These activities were performed in accordance with detailed operating checklists and Construction Quality Assurance requirements that were included in the WDIG’s approved activity-specific startup plan.
Pre-final Inspection Follow-up Actions: EPA, USACE, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)conducted a preliminary inspection on May 11, 2005 and a pre-final inspection of the completed construction on July 28, 2005. Minor construction items noted for correction by the WDIG’s construction team included:
· Revegetation of final cover and completion of landscaping where cover is sparse, during the next appropriate planting time and in the course of future operations and maintenance.
· Regrading of the final cover soil layer in select locations to remove areas that have displayed ponding.
· Placement of additional gravel on the access road to restore proper grade and integrity.
· Evaluation of post-construction site safety and security requirements for implementation in the near future and continuing as part of regular operations and maintenence.
· Replacement of isolated areas of substandard fencing to maintain site security as appropriate.
· Completion of the general site housekeeping activities to remove miscellaneous construction debris, concrete piles, sandbags, silt fences, etc., from the site.
· Regrading of drainage swales and ditches to remove low spots and to further mitigate drainage impacts to surrounding commercial parcels.
· Marking and identification of well heads for several monitoring wells to enhance visibility.
· Marking and protection of survey benchmarks to monitor ground elevation.
Combined RA Completion & As-Built Report: EPA approved the Combined Remedial Action & As-Built Report on September 14, 2006. The WDIG report provided a detailed summary of remedial action and construction activities and provided engineer-certified design drawings for the completed remedial systems.
Establishment of Institutional Controls: In 2004 - 2007, EPA focused on completing settlements with remaining landowner PRP groups and establishing institutional controls for all the land parcels at the site. Institutional controls included Environmental Restriction Covenants (ERCs), which are property restrictions that “run with the land” meaning that future landowners will have to comply with the restrictions. Environmental Restriction Covenants have been recorded with Los Angeles County for all the land parcels at the site. These ERCs require the owners to obtain EPA approval before undertaking construction or land uses that could adversely impact the environmental systems at the site. Most construction activities, and particularly excavation work, would require prior EPA review and approval.
Long Term Operations, Maintenance & Monitoring (OM&M): With the completion of the remedial action in September 2006, work at the site transitioned into the phase of work devoted to long term operations, maintenance, and monitoring. Pursuant with their settlement with EPA, the WDIG will be responsible for all OM&M.
Operations, Maintenance & Monitoring Plan: The WDIG prepared a Long Term Operations, Maintenance and Monitoring Plan for the WDI site. EPA approved the plan on September 21, 2006.
Long Term OM&M Activities:
· Routine Inspections – Routine inspections of the engineered caps and all site systems.
· Cap Maintenance – Routine maintenance and repair of RCRA-equivalent, asphalt and concrete engineered capping systems.
· Maintenance of Soil Vapor Collection & Treatment Systems – Routine inspection, maintenance and repair of soil vapor wells, air monitoring systems, and soil vapor collection and treatment systems.
· Collection & Extraction of Liquids from the Reservoir – Bailing and later installation of low-volume pumping systems to remove very low volumes of liquids from the central reservoir area (“dial”). Liquids will be shipped offsite to an EPA-approved hazardous materials treatment facility.
· Maintenance of Vegetative Cover – Inspections, mowing, and hydroseeding of vegetative soil cover to help maintain and protect the integrity of the cap, control stormwater run-off, and maintain a natural appearance.
· Stormwater & Sedimentation Control Features – Inspection and repair of stormwater and sediment control systems (swales, berms, retention structures, etc.).
· Landscaping – Periodic mowing, pruning, and weeding of site vegetation.
· General housekeeping – General site maintenance.
· Long term Groundwater Monitoring – Semi-annual collection and analysis of samples of groundwater at the site and semi-annual reporting to EPA.
· Long Term Soil Vapor Monitoring – Quarterly sampling and analysis with semi-annual reporting.
· Long Term Indoor Air Monitoring – Quarterly monitoring at indoor air monitoring locations at the site with semi-annual reporting.
· Corrective Action – Identification and implementation of corrective actions as determined necessary by EPA.
Monitoring and Enforcement of Institutional Controls: As part of its settlement with EPA, the WDIG has developed and implemented a plan to monitor and enforce institutional controls at the site. The WDIG will be conducting ongoing inspections of the site in order to identify and report any activities that might require EPA review and approval pursuant to the site’s Environmental Restriction Covenants.
Roughly 35 small businesses are located on the perimeter of the WDI site outside the central dial area. A high school is located adjacent at the northeast corner of the site. A residential area is located just across the street to the east of the site.
Cleanup Results to Date
EPA signed off the remedial action completion report on September 14, 2006 and the project has now transitioned into long-term operations, maintenance and monitoring.
The First Five Year Review Report was completed in September 4, 2009, and the EPA has determined that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment. The remedy successfully contains on-site waste and blocks exposure pathways. The cap prevents direct exposure to contaminated soils. The soil gas extraction and treatment system and engineering controls for structures prevent migration of vapors to indoor air and/or off-site. Groundwater remains unaffected by site contamination.
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.
Contact information for the PRPs' representative can be found below.
Documents and Reports
Public Meetings & Community Involvement: EPA worked closely with community members throughout the entire remedial process for the WDI site. EPA held a public hearing on the proposed remediation plan for the site on June 14, 2001, in Whittier, California. EPA held an informational meeting on the status and progress at the site (January 2003) and facilitated a meeting for the City of Santa Fe Springs with property and business owners to discuss redevelopment plans (February 2003). EPA then met with property owners to discuss settling their liability for site cleanup with EPA (March 2003). Later in 2003 and 2004, EPA and the WDIG hosted several informal “open house” meetings in which EPA and WDIG representatives met in small group settings with community members to discuss the project and potential impacts on existing businesses. Throughout the construction of the remedy, EPA continued to meet with landowners, tenants and neighbors to discuss the project and ongoing work activities. In one case, EPA representatives conducted a large outdoor “loading dock meeting” at an adjacent business to inform employees about the ongoing remedial activities across the street at the WDI site. EPA worked closely with community members, and particularly onsite business representative to minimize inconveniences caused by work activities.
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
Santa Fe Springs City Library
11700 East Telegraph Road
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
EPA Site Manager
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
1011 Gradview Ave.
Glendale, CA. 91201
230 King's Highway East
Haddonfield, New Jersey 08033
After Hours (Emergency Response)