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$150 MILLION STRINGFELLOW SUPERFUND AGREEMENT REACHED

 $150 MILLION STRINGFELLOW SUPERFUND AGREEMENT REACHED
 LOS ANGELES, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (U.S. EPA) the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) today announced in estimated $150 million agreement has been reached in connection with the cleanup of the Stringfellow Acid Pits federal Superfund site, Glen Avon, Calif. The agreement is one of the largest ever obtained for a private party cleanup at a Superfund site.
 "The agreement is especially significant because it represents an extraordinary cooperative effort between the U.S. EPA, the state, and the private parties," said Jeff Zelikson, U.S. EPA's western region hazardous waste management director. "We are gratified that instead of continuing to spend their resources solely on litigation, these parties have agreed to clean up the site, protecting the health and environment of the community of Glen Avon."
 "I am extremely pleased," announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Vicki A. O'Meara, "that we have been able to resolve this portion of the litigation and that these agreements significantly advance the cleanup of the site. This agreement is in keeping with our commitment to emphasize cleanup of sites by responsible parties and to maximize recovery of federal funds spent on cleanup for use at future Superfund sites."
 The agreement, which consists of two consent decrees that were lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and an associated consent order, involves 18 companies. The work covered by the agreement will add significantly to cleanup measures already in place, which include groundwater extraction wells, a groundwater pretreatment plant, clean water diversion wells and surface water diversion channels. The settling parties have agreed to install additional wells to extract and treat contaminated groundwater from the site and from the community of Glen Avon.
 The settling parties also will conduct a test of soil vapor extraction to remove volatile chemicals from soil. In addition, the parties will assume much of the routine maintenance and monitoring activities and pay for the operation of the on-site groundwater pretreatment plant. The settling companies will perform work valued at approximately $38 million while agreements to reimburse U.S. EPA for past costs and for future costs it will incur in connection with the site are valued at $112 million. U.S. EPA and Cal/EPA with input from the public, still need to determine the appropriate method for dealing with soil contamination and a long-term strategy for treating and disposing of all of the groundwater that will be extracted from the Stringfellow contaminant plume.
 William F. Soo Hoo, director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control of Cal/EPA, said that private party funding of these projects will free money and staff time to deal with other problems at the Stringfellow site. "We can now devote resources to dealing with final cleanup decisions," said Soo Hoo. "Private party funding of Stringfellow projects like the groundwater contamination will enable us to move ahead more quickly." Soo Hoo said the state, in conjunction with U.S. EPA, will continue to supervise and monitor the work being done by the responsible parties.
 Although this agreement does not end the litigation, it does resolve numerous issues that have been the subject of extensive litigation. The ultimate allocation of cleanup costs among the nearly 200 potentially responsible parties, including the state of California and the U.S. Air Force, has yet to be determined. The agreement, however, ensures that litigation over the ultimate allocation of costs will not delay the cleanup effort at the site.
 In the early 1980s, California designated the Stringfellow site as its highest priority site. Since that time state and federal agencies have responded to the complex problem created by the underground migration of industrial wastes.
 Government actions taken to date have controlled and treated the contaminants in the groundwater so that they do not currently pose an immediate threat to nearby residents. Over 48 million gallons of contaminated groundwater have been treated since December 1985. The additional work that will be performed by the private parties will enhance the existing capture and control of the contaminant plume and accelerate cleanup activities.
 Lead counsel for the United States in this case is Phillip Brooks, environment and national resources division, U.S. DOJ.
 Nationwide, U.S. EPA has negotiated over $5 billion in settlements with private parties. In the western region, almost 90 percent of the cleanups, valued at more than $800 million, are being funded by the private sector.
 -0- 7/30/92
 /CONTACT: Paula Bruin of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1587; Rick Varenchik of Cal/EPA, 818-567-3180; or Melissa Burns of U.S. DOJ, 202-514-2007/ CO: U.S. EPA; Cal/EPA; U.S. DOJ ST: California IN: SU:


MM -- SF001 -- 5197 07/30/92 15:00 EDT
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Date:Jul 30, 1992
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