EPA investigating DDT pollution near Torrance

TORRANCE — Some South Bay residents will receive a letter in the mail next week notifying them of a federal investigation into leftover DDT pollution at a four-acre site near Torrance, it was reported today.

The site was previously owned by Montrose Chemical Corp., the company who manufactured the now-banned pesticide and pumped DDT through the sewer system into the Pacific Ocean off the Palos Verdes Peninsula for more than three decades, the Daily Breeze reported.

Chlorinated solvents, lead and other potentially dangerous chemicals are known to exist on the site in elevated concentrations that can harm human health, the newspaper said.

Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a plan to clean up contaminated groundwater associated with the industrial contamination. Pollution in groundwater exists at levels that "far exceed'' drinking water standards, EPA officials told the Daily Breeze.

Another company, JCI Jones, employs about 30 people at its plant on the site of the former DDT factory, and is not responsible for the contamination at the plant, Vice President Tim Ross told the newspaper. The site was previously owned by Montrose, which occupied an adjacent 13-acre site from 1947 to 1982.

The EPA's investigation will sample soil, air and groundwater on the JCI site, which was capped with concrete and asphalt to prevent the chemicals from spreading any further. The soil sampling will take about five months.

The Daily Breeze reported that other investigative measures will take far longer, such as groundwater monitoring wells that will be installed along Del Amo Boulevard and Denker Avenue as a part of the investigation. The investigative work will continue until at least April 2011.

An actual cleanup of the site will occur sometime after once a plan is in place. A public meeting will be held before that occurs so residents understand what will happen, EPA Project Manager Michael Work told the newspaper.