EPA Reaches Settlement for Cleanup at Monterey Park Site

By City News Service

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $1.6 million settlement with 47 companies for contamination at the Operating Industries Inc. (OII) Superfund site in Monterey Park.

Each company was responsible for sending a relatively small volume, between 4,200 and 110,000 gallons, of liquid hazardous waste to the landfill near the Pomona (60) Freeway during decades of operation, according to the agency.

Landfill operations began at the site by the owners, Monterey Park Disposal Co., in 1948. OII bought the site in the 1950s and continued disposal operations for almost three decades, the EPA said.

Nearly 4,000 companies dumped millions of gallons of commercial, residential, and industrial wastes during those years, about 300 million gallons of which were liquid industrial wastes. These wastes contaminated the air, groundwater, and soil, posed a fire risk, and threatened the health of nearby residents, the agency stated.

The settlement is the last EPA expects to sign for the site, paving the way for the location to be restored to productive use. Over the last 25 years, EPA has secured $600 million worth of cash and commitments for cleanup work from the parties responsible for contamination at the site, the agency said.

“With this final settlement for the OII landfill, we’ve reached a key milestone,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Now we are working with the responsible parties to ensure that a portion of the site can be developed for the benefit of the local economy.”

Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. A Superfund listing clears the way for the EPA to investigate and clean up the sites using federal funding.

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February 21, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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