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 SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ --The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced plans to sample soil from the backyards of several homes adjacent to the proposed Del Amo Pits Superfund site in Torrance, Calif., to check for possible chemical contamination related to waste pits at the site. A rubber manufacturing facility existed at the site from the mid-1940s through the early 1970s and wastes from the facility were disposed of in these pits, which are contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds.
 The sampling of backyard soils is part of the investigation to determine the extent of contamination at the site and is being done as a precaution to assure the health of residents near the waste pits. Based on the results of previous studies at the site, U.S. EPA does not expect to find contaminants present in the backyards at levels that could affect the health of the residents. However, if contaminants are present at these levels, U.S. EPA will take appropriate measures to address the problem. The samples will be analyzed for semi-volatile organic compounds, heavy metals and pesticides.
 U.S. EPA will collect samples of soil from the backyards of 14 homes located along 204th St. between Normandie Ave. and New Hampshire Ave. and from an undeveloped area along Del Amo Blvd. The sampling involves collecting a small amount of soil with a small hand tool and will not disrupt the yards. The sampling is expected to take place Sept. 21 and 22 with each backyard requiring about half an hour to sample.
 The sampling team will include a representative from U.S. EPA and a representative of Dames and Moore, a consulting firm hired by the Shell Oil Co. and the Dow Chemical Co.
 Laboratory tests of the soil samples are expected to take about six weeks to complete. U.S. EPA will inform the residents of the results of the tests and will hold a community meeting if residents express an interest.
 The U.S. Government built the Del Amo facility in 1942 to manufacture synthetic rubber for use in World War II. Under agreements with the government, the facility was operated by several different companies, including Shell Oil Co. and Dow Chemical Co. In 1955, the U.S. government sold the facility to Shell, which operated the facility from 1955 through 1969. Since that time, the property has been sold several times and much of the property has been commercially developed. Groundwater at the Del Amo Pits site is also contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile compounds. The pollutants are associated with the rubber manufacturing process.
 Under a consent order with U.S. EPA signed in May 1992 Shell Oil Co. and Dow Chemical Co. agreed to investigate soil and groundwater contamination and evaluate cleanup methods. The two companies also have agreed to reimburse the U.S. EPA and the state of California for past costs and for future oversight costs.
 U.S. EPA proposed the Del Amo Pits site be added to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in July 1991. The NPL is the U.S. EPA's list of hazardous waste sites potentially posing the greatest long-term threat to public health and the environment.
 -0- 8/31/93
 /CONTACT: Paula Bruin of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1587/

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

LH -- SF009 -- 7582 08/31/93 14:51 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 31, 1993

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