12 companies OK $3.8M settlement to clean up Monterey Park Superfund site

Twelve companies have agreed to pay $3.87 million to help clean up a toxic waste dump in Monterey Park, the federal government announced today.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department announced that the settlement has been filed with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. It deals with the companies' liability for past and future cleanup work and other costs at the Operating Industries Inc. Superfund site.

According to the EPA, each of these companies contributed more than the equivalent of 110,000 gallons of commercial liquid waste to the location

The companies that agreed to pay for the cleanup are Ameron International Corporation; B&C Plating Company; California Dairies, Inc.; Casex Co., a Partnership; Energy Production & Sales Co.; Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.; International Extrusion Corporation; Jaybee Manufacturing Corporation; Luxfer, Inc.; Princess Cruises Limited; Thompson Drilling Company; and YRC, Inc. Some of the companies originally named in the matter have since been acquired or merged into other defendants, said Jane Diamond of the EPA.

"EPA has used the Superfund law's `polluter pays' provision to ensure that hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs for the OII Superfund site will be paid by the corporations responsible for the contamination, and not by the taxpayers,'' she said.

Operating Industries Inc., a 190-acre landfill, operated between 1948 and 1984, during which time the landfill took in and dumped residential and commercial refuse, liquid wastes, and a variety of hazardous wastes, according to the EPA.

More than 300 million gallons of liquid hazardous wastes, and approximately 38 million cubic yards of refuse were disposed of at the site, the EPA said.

Operating Industries Inc. was placed on the National Priorities List in May 1986. The list tracks hazardous waste sites potentially posing the greatest long-term threat to public health and the environment, the EPA said.

The Superfund is a revolving account administered by the federal government that pays to clean up toxic messes, and then seeks repayment from the companies responsible.