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1996 News Releases



Release Date: 11/15/1996
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

     (San Francisco)-- After extensive sampling, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not found vinyl chloride in soil gas near eight West Oakland homes, eliminating the need to test inside residents' homes for the chemical.

     "We are confident that the people who live in this area are not in danger of being exposed to vinyl chloride in the air in their homes," said Keith Takata, U.S. EPA's Superfund director.  

     U.S. EPA tested soil gas at 18 locations near the homes and DC Metals, a scrap metals dealer at Third Street and Mandela Parkway, where high levels of vinyl chloride were found. All soil samples taken in front of and behind the homes showed no traces of vinyl chloride in the soil gas. The results showed levels of 17,000 parts per billion at the DC Metals site, and that levels dropped off sharply just beyond the site.

     The eight residences tested are bounded by Fifth, Center, and Third streets, and Nelson Mandela Parkway.

     The sampling was done as part of the U.S. EPA's cleanup of the DC Metals site. Under U.S. EPA's Superfund removal program, the agency will spend up to $1.8 million to remove vinyl chloride from shallow groundwater to remove any potential threat to nearby residents. Vinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen.

     Cleanup at the DC Metals site is expected to begin in early December. U.S. EPA will remove underground storage tanks, and construct a groundwater pump-and-treat system and extract and treat vinyl chloride in soil vapor to a depth of 15 feet. It is expected to take about a year to complete the treatment.

     The results of the sampling will be discussed at a public meeting held by U.S. EPA today from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Health Start Office, 800 Pine St., Oakland.

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