Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a $55 million settlement with Shell Oil Co. and the U.S. General Services Administration for the cleanup of contaminated soil at the Del Amo Superfund Site near Torrance, it was announced Wednesday.

The cleanup work will prevent surface exposure of industrial chemicals and reduce sources of groundwater contamination from across the 280-acre site, according to the federal environmental agency.

“These funds are key to advancing our cleanup actions at this site,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA looks forward to working with local residents as we clean up and revitalize their neighborhood, which has been burdened for decades by this former industrial plant.”

The Del Amo facility in an unincorporated area near Torrance was the site of a synthetic rubber manufacturing plant that was built in the 1940s and ceased operations in 1972.

Benzene, propane, butylene and butane, used to produce synthetic rubber were disposed in unlined pits and ponds and covered with soil, resulting in contamination of soil and groundwater, according to environmental regulators.

The Del Amo Superfund Site was placed on the EPA’s National Priorities List in 2002.

GSA is the successor to the plant’s former federal government owners, the Defense Plant Corp. and Rubber Reserve Co. Shell was a former operator and eventual owner of the plant.

Part of the cleanup will involve injecting chemicals into the ground in three locations to accelerate the breakdown of the contamination deep within the soil. In addition, a vacuum system will extract and filter harmful vapors trapped within the soil.

The treatment techniques are estimated to take three to five years to complete, according to the EPA.

In addition, several areas will be capped by materials such as concrete and asphalt to prevent exposure to shallow soil contamination, the environmental agency reported.

— City News Service 

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