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DTSC accepting public comments on proposed McColl Superfund site agreement

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has issued a Notice of Partial Consent Decree (CD) advising the public that DTSC has entered into an agreement with Shell Oil, Chevron, and Atlantic Richfield for the McColl Superfund Site in Fullerton.

The proposed Partial CD is meant to recover some of the costs incurred by the state of California in responding to the release of hazardous substances at the site. The U.S. EPA entered its own Partial CD with Shell to recover its incurred costs in August 2021.

The 22-acre McColl Superfund site, located at Rosecrans and Sunny Ridge Drive in the northwest area of the city, was formerly an oil waste disposal area. During the 1940s over 70,000 cubic yards of petroleum refinery waste were dumped unto unlined pits, or sumps, on the site. In the following two decades drilling mud was dumped over some of the sumps to control odors while the Los Coyotes Country Club golf course was built.

Houses were later built near the site, which was subsequently found to be contaminated with benzene, thiophane, and toxic metals that threatened groundwater. In the 1990s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) capped the sumps, walled them off from groundwater, and lined drainage channels to contain the toxins.

The golf course was eventually expanded to cover the closed area, but EPA continues to review the safety of the site every five years.

DTSC will accept public comments on the proposed agreement between the dates of December 10, 2021 and January 10, 2022.

Comments must be in written form, and may be mailed to Mr. Nicholas Ta, Project Manager, Site Mitigation & Restoration Program, Department of Toxic Substances Control, 5796 Corporate Ave, Cypress, CA 90630, or emailed to Nicholas.Ta@dtsc.ca.gov. No public meeting has been scheduled during the comment period.

A question concerning the discrepancy between a notice issued in August saying Shell Oil was paying $29.5 million and 58% of future cleanup and monitoring costs and the new information that the combined oil companies are paying only $8.1 million towards those costs has been submitted to the EPA.

12/14/2021 Response from EPA: EPA press officer, Joshua Alexander clarified the discrepancy mentioned above. While the remaining defendants (Union Oil, Atlantic Richfield, Texaco, Los Coyotes Estates, Ramparts Research, and McAuley LCX) have not come to a settlement at this time, the EPA has made a settlement in the case with Shell for EPA’s $29.5 million in past costs and 58% of future costs.

In a separate case from that of the EPA, the DTSC has litigated the oil companies recovering $8.1 million. According to an article by LA Times from 1988, the McColl cleanup was projected to cost $80 to $100 million. Leaving an estimated $43 to $63 million in cleanup costs for California.

To learn more go to: www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov/public/profile_report?global_id=30290001

Click to access McColl%20Partial%20Consent%20Decree%20GO-%20%28FINAL-Oil%20Company%20Signatures%29%20%28002%29.pdf

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