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Environment & Science

Superfund list swells for two South Gate industrial sites

Patricia Mateos Ballestero/Toxies (via PSL-LA)

Environmental Protection Agency officials have added two South Gate industrial sites to the Superfund National Priorities List. A property on Southern Avenue and another at the Jervis B. Webb Co. are contaminated with trichloroethylene, also known as TCE. We've reported on TCE's presence in other Superfund sites in Southern California. And we described these two sites last fall:

Seam Master is a carpeting company, but it's suspected the toxic contamination came from a previous tenant, a company that made screw products. The Jervis B. Webb company sits where a rivet manufacturer once fabricated parts in the boom days of aerospace. Shallow groundwater at both sites contains more than the maximum limit for a chemical called trichloroethylene.

In announcing the decision, EPA Region 9 chief Jared Blumenfeld emphasized the sites' location in an environmental justice focus area where the local community is vulnerable to industrial activities.

These industrial plants are located in the I-710 corridor, a priority area for EPA, where low-income and minority populations are overburdened by pollution. Now that these sites are officially on the Superfund list, EPA will begin full-scale investigations of the contaminated soil and drinking water sources.

Putting a site  on a list isn't the same thing as actually cleaning it up. As we discussed repeatedly while we examined Superfund sites each week last year, the problem remains the money. (And if you missed it last fall, here's why Superfund matters, and why it's funding is not so super.) Of 1,664 sites listed on the Superfund National Priorities List, just 359 have been cleaned up since 1983. These two added to the total bring the current national list to 1305.