EPA Announces $1.7 Million Settlement for San Gabriel Valley Cleanup Costs

On June 21, EPA announced that a settlement has been reached with a private company, its owners and several federal agencies for $1.695 million in cleanup costs at the San Gabriel Valley Area 2 Superfund site near Los Angeles.

The settling parties include: Azusa Pipe and Tube Bending Corp., Frederick Tressel, Ronald Tressel, the Trustees of the Tressel Family Trust, the U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"This settlement demonstrates the EPA's commitment to make potentially responsible parties pay their fair share," said Keith Takata, director of EPA's Superfund Division for the Pacific Southwest Region. "EPA will continue to oversee cleanup work at this and the other San Gabriel Valley Superfund sites to protect and restore the San Gabriel Basin as a vital source of drinking water for Southern California."

The parties involved in the settlement will pay $1,515,000 to the federal government and $180,000 to the state of California for their efforts to direct and oversee the cleanup of the contamination. The settlement is in addition to eight settlements announced in October 2005, which resulted in repayment of $14.8 million in EPA and state past costs. The groundwater cleanup, one of the largest in the country, has been a cooperative effort involving EPA, the state of California and seven local water agencies.

Under a separate EPA order, more than $100 million has been spent at the site to clean up the area's groundwater. Four large water treatment systems have been constructed, removing contaminants from 30 million gallons per day of contaminated groundwater in and near Baldwin Park, Calif. The four systems provide a safe and reliable source of drinking water to area residents and businesses, benefiting 85,000 households daily.

The Baldwin Park area and three adjoining areas of groundwater contamination were declared Superfund sites in 1984. The Baldwin Park area cleanup addresses an area of groundwater contamination more than eight miles long and 1,000 feet deep.

In the 1940s, companies started using hazardous chemicals that have now contaminated the area's groundwater. Contaminants include trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, volatile organic compounds used for cleaning and degreasing, and perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel.

The San Gabriel Valley Superfund site settlement is described in a consent decree lodged on June 21 with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. A copy of the consent decree will be available at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html. For more information on the EPA's Superfund program, visit http://www.epa.gov/superfund/index.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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