Los Angeles, California - On September 30, 2021, three settlement agreements were approved by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Under the agreements, Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, Bayer CropScience Inc., TFCF America Inc., and Stauffer Management Company LLC have agreed to pay $77.6 million for cleanup of contaminated groundwater at the Montrose Chemical Corp. Superfund and the Del Amo Superfund Sites in Los Angeles County, California. The companies will also investigate potential contamination of the historic stormwater pathway leading from the Montrose Superfund Site, south of Torrance Boulevard. Another company, JCI Jones Chemicals Inc. will participate in the groundwater cleanup.
The settlements not only provide for cleanup and investigation, but also collectively resolve active litigation in a case that has been pending for over 30 years under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund). From 1947 to 1982, Montrose operated the U.S.’s largest manufacturing plant for the pesticide DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane).
“These settlements will enhance groundwater quality in Los Angeles County by requiring the responsible polluters to clean up two major portions of the Montrose Superfund Site and investigate the historic stormwater pathway,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “These settlements demonstrate the Justice Department’s and EPA’s continuing efforts, together with our state partners, to ensure that polluters, not the American public, pay for the investigation and cleanup of Superfund sites.”
“EPA continues its commitment to protecting community health and drinking water sources by cleaning up groundwater impacted by the Montrose and Del Amo Superfund Sites,” said Director Enrique Manzanilla of EPA’s Pacific Southwest Superfund and Emergency Management. “These settlements ensure the long-term operation of the Montrose Superfund Site’s cleanup so that it is not an ongoing source of contamination.”
“For years, people in this area have been impacted by contamination from these former pesticide- and rubber-manufacturing sites, and these settlements bring them one step closer to equity,” said Director Meredith Williams of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). “We stand with the people who live, work, and play near this contamination, and we will continue our efforts to make the polluters pay for their actions.”
The settlements require the companies to pay for and implement cleanup remedies and perform an investigation with federal and state oversight. The companies will also reimburse EPA more than $8 million and California DTSC more than $450,000 for costs already incurred.
Each settlement addresses specific activity to address cleanup of the sites:
- The first settlement requires pumping and treating the groundwater to federal and state cleanup standards and then reinjecting the treated water back into the ground.
- The second settlement will bring about treatment of the soil to address historical releases that are an ongoing source of groundwater contamination. Air monitoring will be performed to ensure there are no impacts to the surrounding community.
- The third settlement requires investigation of potential contaminant releases in the historic stormwater pathway leading from the Montrose Superfund Site, south of Torrance Boulevard. This settlement will be used to determine if there is contamination in the pathway that may require cleanup.