Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | October 1, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says EPA adds BF Goodrich’s Rialto site to NPL and moves forward on putting together a cleanup plan for groundwater contamination.

We have written several posts on B.F. Goodrich’s Rialto perchlorate or “rocket-fuel-site” in western San Bernardino County, California.  EPA added the Rialto site to the Superfund National Priorities List, the federal program that cleans up the nation’s uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. 

The site is called the rocket fuel site because B.F. Goodrich site has been used to store, test and manufacture munitions, rocket motors, and pyrotechnics by the government and businesses since the 1940s. The area’s groundwater is grossly contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchlorate, forcing the closure of public drinking water supply wells in the communities of Rialto and Colton. 

Since 2002, the EPA and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board have worked to investigate and clean up the B.F. Goodrich site. Apparently, Goodrich was not moving fast enough on the groundwater pollution issues to suit EPA.

In 2006, investigation and cleanup efforts stalled when the potentially responsible parties presented legal challenges to state cleanup efforts. EPA has since spent more than $3 million to complete required soil and groundwater testing. As a result of that testing, EPA expects to release a plan to begin cleanup at a portion of the site later this year.  Goodrich and its insurers will eventually fund that cleanup and pay back EPA for its consultants’ work, as well as its oversight costs.

Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a metal cleaning solvent. Drinking or breathing high levels of trichloroethylene may cause damage to the nervous system, liver and lungs. Perchlorate is an ingredient in solid rocket propellant and many pyrotechnics, and may affect the thyroid gland.

For more information on the BF Goodrich Superfund site, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/bfgoodrich

For the Federal Register notice and supporting documents, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

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