Written by Bay City News
A proposed $3 million
settlement for completion of the cleanup of groundwater
contamination at a former circuit board factory in Mountain View was
announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional office in San
Francisco on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
The 5.5-acre site was used by CTS Printex to
make circuit boards between
1970 and 1985. The operation made use of industrial solvents including
trichloroethylene, or TCE, which contaminated soil and groundwater
on the property.
A plume of TCE-contaminated groundwater later spread to the northwest of the property.
The site is one of 23 in Santa Clara County
designated by the EPA as Superfund sites, a term used to identify the nation's most hazardous waste
locations. The U.S. Superfund law allows the EPA to step in at such sites and
either clean up the hazard or require the responsible parties to do so.
In previous actions, CTS Printex and the
property owner, ADN Corp., excavated some polluted soil and pumped out 106 million gallons of contaminated
groundwater between 1987 and 1996. The water was discharged to a Mountain
View sanitary sewer for treatment.
But some low levels of solvent contamination
remain in the groundwater
and pose a risk of intrusion of harmful vapors into present and future
buildings on the site, according to the EPA.
The proposed settlement requires Indiana-based CTS Printex and Danville-based ADN Corp. to pay about $2 million to treat and monitor the remaining contamination and to pay the EPA $850,000 for its previous costs in responding to the hazard.
The treatment, outlined in a 2011 plan,
consists of adding a mix of
chemicals and bacteria to the most contaminated part of the groundwater plume
to encourage the solvents to biodegrade. The remaining areas of the groundwater
will be monitored.
The plan also restricts uses of the
groundwater and requires engineering
controls such as vapor barriers beneath existing and new buildings.
"Our goal is to protect the people living and working in this community from the harmful effects of vapor intrusion," said EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld.
The property is bounded by Colony Street on the South, Plymouth Street on the north, Sierra Vista Avenue on the west, and U.S. Highway 101 on the east.
The proposed settlement was lodged in federal court in San Jose on Jan. 16 by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of the EPA. Department lawyers simultaneously filed a lawsuit against the two companies that will be resolved when the settlement is approved.
The case was assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal.
According to a Justice Department notice filed with the documents, the settlement will remain open for public comment for 30 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. After that, the EPA will either ask Grewal to approve the settlement or will withdraw it if the public comment raises reasons for doing so.
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