Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
Sola Optical Usa, Inc.
EPA #: CAD981171523
Congressional District: 06
On 10/13/17, this website will no longer be updated. Site information will be migrated to the new web page at: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/solaoptical .
EPA appreciates your patience through this transition. If you have questions, please contact EPA staff listed below.
On this page
Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 06/24/88
Final Date: 02/21/90
Sola Optical USA, Inc. produced optical lenses on this 35-acre site from 1978 - 2001. In 1982, the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) identified acetone in an on-site well. Subsequently, Sola reported that soil adjacent to six underground solvent storage tanks at the facility was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In 1985, Sola removed the underground storage tanks and confirmed that the shallow groundwater underneath the site was contaminated with VOCs. In 1986 and 1987, the State found low levels of solvents in the Petaluma #5 City Well. This well was located approximately 500 feet from the site and may have been hydraulically connected to the contaminated aquifer beneath the site. The well was shut down until treatment of the contaminated groundwater is completed. Affected residences were connected to the Petaluma Water Department distribution system, which was serving approximately 50,000 people at the time.
The facility shut down in October 2001 and the property was sold in 2002.
Contaminants and Risks
- Soil and Sludges
Groundwater contained various VOCs, primarily 1,1-DCE and 1,1-DCA. The low level of contaminant concentrations in the soil were within federal guidelines. Scientific data showed that these soil contaminants would not have affected the groundwater. If contaminants had migrated off site, people who accidentally ingested or came in direct contact with contaminated groundwater or soils may have been at risk.
Who is Involved
This site was addressed through Federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.
Entire site: In 1985, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (CRWQCB) issued Waste Discharge Requirements calling for Sola to conduct groundwater studies. In 1987, the CRWQCB issued site cleanup requirements calling for Sola to determine the lateral and vertical extent of groundwater contamination and to propose cleanup alternatives. The State of California worked with Sola to install a groundwater pump and treat system.
In 1989, Sola, under EPA oversight, began an investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site. The investigation was completed in 1991. The selected remedy for final cleanup included continued operation of the existing extraction well that had been in use since 1988, installation of two additional shallow wells, conversion of two deep monitoring wells into extraction wells, and treatment by carbon adsorption of the contaminated groundwater, which was then discharged to a creek or to the City sewage treatment plant. All site construction activities were completed in late 1992.
The groundwater treatment system was shut off for a test period in order to evaluate its effectiveness. There was no subsequent rebound in contaminant levels in the groundwater so the system was not turned back on.
In 2005, EPA conducted a "5-Year Review" of the remedial actions at the site. Based on this review, EPA concluded that the remedy protected human health and the environment because groundwater contamination had been reduced below drinking water standards in all but a very limited area around one well, and no exposure pathways to the remaining contamination exist. However, EPA also concluded that in order for the remedy to be protective in the long term, EPA must undertake the following actions: (1) identify and select institutional controls in a decision document, then implement and monitor the effectiveness of these controls; and (2) attain the groundwater clean-up standard for 1,1-DCA in well #W-27.
On March 30, 2007, EPA amended the Record of Decision to change the remedy from pump and treat to Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) and institutional controls. MNA is an approach that relies on natural processes, such as biodegradation, to attain the clean-up goals within a reasonable time frame. Institutional controls (ICs) are non-engineering, legal measures that help prevent or limit the potential for exposure to hazardous substances by restricting land or water use. One institutional control selected in this ROD Amendment was a restrictive covenant which is an agreement, recorded with the County recorder’s office, whereby a land owner agrees to restrict the use of his or her property. The second institutional control selected was Sonoma County’s well permitting process. The Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD), the entity responsible for issuing all well installation permits in the county, had agreed at EPA’s request to not issue well permits for the parcel with the remaining contamination before consulting with U.S. EPA.
In 2013, EPA determined that all cleanup goals had been attained and no further actions would be required. On July 24, 2013, EPA proposed to remove the site from the National Priorities List. Public comments on this proposal were accepted until August 23, 2013, as described in the "Community Involvement" section below, and October 22, 2013, EPA published a Responsiveness Summary to respond to the public comments received. On October 31, 2013, the site was removed from the National Priorities List.
The contamination by the chemical 1,1-DCA in Well #W-27 steadily declined from a high of 20 micrograms per liter (ug/l) until it attained the cleanup goal of 5 ug/l. EPA and Sola Optical monitored the well to ensure the contamination remained below the clean-up goal. EPA issued a Final Close-Out Report on 5/8/12. For more detail, please refer to the Groundwater Quality Data and the Concentration of 1,1-DCA in Well W-27 documents in the Documents and Reports section below.
Cleanup Results to Date
Physical construction of all cleanup remedies is complete, and all cleanup goals have been attained. The groundwater pump and treat system operated from 1988 until 1997, when it no longer was effective in cleaning up the groundwater to the cleanup levels established in the Record of Decision. EPA amended the ROD and changed the remedy from groundwater pump and treat to monitored natural attenuation and institutional controls.
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.
The PRP for this site was originally Sola Optical USA, Inc, which had since been acquired by Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. They cooperated with the U.S. EPA Order to conduct the remediation activities required by EPA.
Documents and Reports
Public Meetings: A Responsiveness Summary was issued on October 22, 2013, to respond to the public comments received regarding EPA's plan to remove the site from the National Priorities List. The site was removed from the National Priorities Lisa on October 31, 2013, and a press release was issued on November 2, 2013.
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
Petaluma Public Library,
100 Fairgrounds Drive,
Petaluma CA 94952
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
After Hours (Emergency Response)