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U.S. EPA SIGNS ORDER WITH COMPANIES FOR CLEANUP AT PURITY

 SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced the signing of an agreement with 61 companies requiring them to design detailed specifications for the soil cleanup selected by the U.S. EPA for the Purity Oil Sales Superfund site, Malaga, Calif.
 "U.S. EPA has made an effort in this settlement to help some of the smaller parties participate in the cleanup without causing them undue financial hardship," said Jeff Zelikson, director of U.S. EPA's regional hazardous waste management division. "Our final goal for this site is a fair and equitable settlement that gets the cleanup work done without excessive costs to businesses or lengthy litigation."
 U.S. EPA expects the soil cleanup design to be completed within two years, followed by the cleanup itself. The settlement is valued at approximately $5 million.
 The cleanup strategy for the site, selected by U.S. EPA in September 1992, requires cleaning up hazardous waste at Purity by treating contaminated soil below 14 feet with a soil vapor extraction system. The soil is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, oil and grease and a variety of metals. The site will be covered with a cap which will prevent direct contact with contaminated soil and keep rain from washing contaminants downward through the soil and into the groundwater. A 25-foot trench will be excavated around the site and filled with soil and clay to form a slurry wall which will prevent the outward movement of contaminants.
 During earlier work at the site, several large above-ground steel tanks of oily waste were removed in 1991. In March 1992, private well users near the site were connected to either the Malaga County Water District or the city of Fresno water system.
 As part of an ongoing groundwater cleanup plan, construction will begin in January on an extraction well system to extract and treat groundwater through a greensand filtration and air stripping process to remove contaminants including VOCs, iron and manganese.
 The seven-acre Purity site is a former oil reprocessing facility. Used oil was taken to the Purity site for refining from businesses located throughout northern and central California such as service stations, automobile dealers, truck stops, electrical transformer yards, state and local governments, utilities and military facilities. The used oil was refined at the site from 1934 to 1975, and waste pits up to 10 feet covered most of the site.
 Contamination problems resulted from the improper storage and disposal of wastes such as oily acidic sludge. Numerous surface spills also occurred during site operations. In the early to mid-1970s, the site owner filled the waste pits with soil, debris and rubble in an attempt to reduce odor problems. The site was later abandoned.
 In 1982, the Purity site was added to the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is U.S. EPA's list of hazardous waste sites potentially posing the greatest long-term threat to public health and the environment. U.S. EPA identifies and ranks NPL sites according to threats to nearby populations through actual or potential contamination of groundwater, surface water or air.
 -0- 1/7/94
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: A list of the companies is available upon request./
 /CONTACT: Paula Bruin of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1587/


CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ST: California IN: ENV SU: EXE

TM -- SF006 -- 0218 01/07/94 15:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 7, 1994
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