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Feds, Shell to pay $55 million to clean up contaminated L.A. site

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40By KYLE FELDSCHER (@KYLE_FELDSCHER) 9/30/15 4:29 PM

Shell and a government agency will pay $55 million to clean up contaminated soil at a site in Los Angeles as a part of a settlement with the federal government.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it reached the settlement with Shell and the General Services Administration to clean up the Del Amo Superfund Site in Los Angeles. A superfund site is an abandoned area where hazardous waste is located.

The Del Amo site is the former location of a synthetic rubber plant built in the 1940s that closed in 1972. Among the chemicals used to produce the rubber, which were discarded into unlined pits and ponds and covered with soil, were benzene, propane, butylene and butane. Those chemicals contaminated the soil and groundwater in the area.

The General Services Administration is the successor to the Defense Plant Corp. and Rubber Reserve Co., which was the federally run company that originally owned the plant. Shell was the operator and eventual owner for the facility.

The EPA says the cleanup work will keep industrial chemicals from being exposed at the surface and will reduce groundwater contamination across the site, which stretches 280 acres.

The cleanup will involve injecting chemicals into the earth to quicken the breakdown of contamination in the soil. A vacuum system will take out harmful vapors in the soil.

The EPA expects cleanup to take between three and five years.

Cleanup work is already underway at the site. The EPA has built an impermeable cap on the waste pits, along with doing soil-vapor extraction and building a treatment system. A groundwater extraction treatment system also has been built.

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