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EPA Reaches $6.5M Settlement To Clean Up Whittier Superfund Site

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it had reached a tentative $6.5 million settlement with 145 parties to clean up groundwater contamination for up to four miles around a Superfund site in Whittier.

"We are pleased that this settlement will help address the groundwater contamination to which these companies and others have contributed," EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud said of the former Omega Chemical Corp. site. "Ensuring the protection of a vital drinking water source for L.A. County is one of the priorities in getting this site cleaned up."

The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period, but has been agreed to by parties that each sent tons of waste to the Omega Chemical site in the 12500 block of East Whittier Boulevard, previously the location of a recycling company.

The EPA spent more than $42 million between 1999 and April 2019 to clean up hazardous chemicals at and around the site and has recovered more than $27 million from potentially responsible parties through a series of settlement agreements, according to the agency.

The Omega Chemical Corp. was a refrigerant and solvent recycling facility that operated between 1976 and 1991 handling drums and bulk loads of industrial waste solvents and chemicals used in the processing of commercial products.

According to the EPA, more than 2,700 drums as well as more than 12,500 pounds of contaminants have been removed from the soil and groundwater and more than 30 million gallons of contaminated water have been treated since 2009.

The location was designated a Superfund site in 1999 and added to the Superfund National Priorities list the same year.

More information about the settlement can be found on the EPA's website as well as information about the Superfund site.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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