AirTalk for December 4, 2013

What should California do about DDT from Palos Verdes shelf?

PV Shelf DDT - 4

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A core is lowered into the water to gather a sediment samples from the Palos Verdes peninsula.

The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to figure out what’s happened to tons of chemicals that were dumped into the Palos Verdes Peninsula from decades of industrial waste. Samples taken from the seafloor found that nearly 100 metric tons of the banned pesticide DDT had disappeared without having been cleaned up.

RELATED: Scientists-turned-detectives look to crack the case of the missing DDT

The DDT had come from the Montrose Chemical Company dumping millions of pounds of the pesticide into the Palos Verdes Peninsula until the 1970s. Tons of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, that were also dumped into the peninsula by industrial sites have disappeared as well.

With the apparent disappearance of the chemicals, the EPA has decided to delay the cleanup of the Palos Verdes shelf, opting to conduct further testing of the area. The results from the tests won’t be released until the end of next year.

What’s the best way for California to deal with the situation in the peninsula? Would it be better to leave the area alone or should cleanup attempts be made if the chemicals are still found to be there?   


Molly Peterson, Environmental Correspondent, KPCC

James Alamillo (AH-lah-mee-yo), Spokesperson, Heal the Bay

Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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