EPA Reaches Settlement for Groundwater Cleanup at San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has entered into three settlements totaling $6,605,080 to help pay for groundwater cleanup at the South El Monte portion of the San Gabriel Valley Area 1 Superfund Site in Los Angeles, Calif.

Since EPA began cleaning up this site in 2008, approximately 4,600 pounds of contaminants have been removed from the groundwater.
EPA has recovered a total of $25 million for the South El Monte cleanup, with the latest $6.6 million to pay for extraction and treatment of groundwater polluted with industrial solvents such as TCE (trichloroethylene) and PCE (perchloroethylene), a chemical once common in dry cleaning operations.

“EPA remains committed to pursuing parties responsible for environmental damage in the San Gabriel Valley,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “So far, more than ten billion gallons of water have been treated to provide safe drinking water for the local communities.”

The three settlement claims were brought by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control against eleven current or former landowners and operators of business facilities that contributed to the contamination in South El Monte.
The first of the recent consent decrees was entered in the federal District Court on April 13, 2012. The second and third consent decrees were lodged on May 15, 2012. All three resolve liabilities for contamination.

The eleven responsible parties are Quaker Chemical Corporation; Art Weiss, Inc.; Astro Seal, Inc.; Craneveyor Corp.; EBA, Inc. D/b/a Earl Butler & Associates; M&T, LLC; Mary Brkich; New Air, Inc.; Pacific Coast Drum Co.; Seachrome Corporation; and Linderman Living Trust A.
The San Gabriel Valley Area 1 Superfund site was placed on the National Priorities List in 1984, and overlays approximately eight square miles of solvent-tainted groundwater in the areas of South El Monte, El Monte and Rosemead. The San Gabriel Valley is a suburban, largely-developed portion of Los Angeles County containing more than one million residents and covering more than 170 square miles.

EPA signed an interim Record of Decision with the goal of containing contaminated groundwater at the site in 2000 and issued an Explanation of Significant Differences to address new contaminants in 2005. The San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority implements the cleanup under a Cooperative Agreement with EPA. The agreement funds groundwater extraction and treatment systems operated by the City of Monterey Park, San Gabriel Valley Water Company, and Golden State Water Company.