Montrose Chemical Corporation of California - Policy Changes and Cleanup

Policy Changes and Cleanup

In 1990, the federal and state natural resource trustees began a natural resource damage assessment for the Southern California Bight, which includes the Palos Verdes Shelf. Following a review of the Trustees' 1994 expert reports, EPA in July 1996 initiated a Superfund non-time critical removal action to evaluate the need for and feasibility of actions to address human health and ecological risks. In July 1997, EPA completed the Screening Evaluation of Response Actions for Contaminated Sediment on the Palos Verdes Shelf.

March 2000 – The EPA increased enforcement of the commercial fishing ban and recreational catch limit for white croaker along the Palos Verdes coast, began educating people about fish consumption advisories, monitored contaminant levels in commercially sold fish, and announced a plan to cap the polluted ocean sediment with clean sediment.

December 2000 – Montrose Chemical Corporation of California and three other corporations settled their lawsuits for a collective $73 million. When combined with prior lawsuits, this brought the total up to $140 million to fund the restoration of the PVS marine environment.

Since 1997, the EPA has implemented a control program with three major elements: public outreach and education, fish monitoring, and enforcement. The fish monitoring program involves sampling both fish in the ocean and fish in retail markets. The MSRP and EPA completed the ocean fish sampling program in July 2007. EPA utilized the data to update the risk assessments for the site. EPA and the public are currently awaiting the State of California to update the existing fish advisory based on the recent data. EPA continues to sample white croakers at local markets. The first phase effort started in 2004. Finally, EPA is working with the local county health departments on marketplace inspection. EPA will be working with the California Department of Fish and Game to enhance enforcement of the white croaker commercial fishing ban off Palos Verdes peninsula and the daily catch limit on white croaker for non-commercial anglers.

Currently, the EPA is its 5th year of full implementation of the public outreach and education program. The EPA created the Fish Contamination Education Collaborative (FCEC) as a mechanism for drawing interested agencies, groups and community based organizations together to design and implement a community based outreach program to address the health risks from eating contaminated fish related to the Palos Verdes Shelf site. The current program focus is to measure risk reduction through the IC's program implementation. EPA, with assistance from all stakeholders, put together a draft road map for the Institutional Controls Program which outlines the numeric objectives and associated strategies and tactics for the program.

Four investigation studies were done during 2004. EPA prepared a Proposed Plan that presents the remedial alternatives and identifies EPA’s preferred alternative for the PV Shelf site. The Proposed Plan has been mailed to the site mailing list and posted on the website. EPA has met informally with interested community groups. The EPA sought public comment on the Proposed Plan from June 15 thru July 15, 2009, and a response to comments (Responsiveness Summary) will be included with the Record of Decision.

EPA initiated its work on the Palos Verdes Shelf as a non-time-critical removal action and is implementing the institutional controls program under that authority. EPA continued with the evaluation of ecological risks and sediment cleanup activities such as capping under its remedial program authority. The cleanup decision will be documented in a Record of Decision, supported by the remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS).

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