State seeks further contamination tests at Santa Clarita sites

first_imgNTS property abutted the contaminated Whittaker Bermite property until about 1991, when Golden Valley Road was built between the two. The state has begun overseeing cleanup of Bermite, where contaminants in the soil and groundwater remain after five decades of weapons manufacturing and testing on the 996-acre site. Meanwhile, the owner of another site – the former Keysor-Century property west of NTS – agreed last month to a voluntary cleanup agreement but has taken no action, Diaz said. For decades, Keysor-Century manufactured polyvinyl chloride for use in making record albums and other plastics. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies vinyl chloride as a carcinogen. In 2004, Keysor officials pleaded guilty to felony charges of violating environmental laws by releasing chemicals into the air and spewing toxic wastewater into the Santa Clara River over a number of years. Keysor paid $4.3 million in civil and criminal penalties and issued a public apology. The company ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy in 2003. The EPA began an on-site investigation of the property in June 2005 and its report – issued last September – said cancer-causing chemicals remain. Diaz said a soil vapor extraction, needed to sanitize the area, could take years to complete. Neither the new property owner nor his representatives returned calls seeking comment. “We still have the option, if they don’t come in to us, we can issue an order,” Diaz said. “How much time we give them, it’s getting close.” [email protected] (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Still, preliminary tests by the department in 2003 found perchlorate in soil at the site, and officials said the remaining untested section – known as the “lab property” – is a concern. “They still have not submitted a plan for the lab property. They promised to submit (it) and they haven’t,” Diaz said. “It’s been more than a couple of months – they should have done this.” National Technical Systems did not return calls seeking comment. Perchlorate is a byproduct of rocket fuel that in large doses has been linked to thyroid problems. The NTS property – where products and components were tested for aerospace, telecommunications, automotive and military use – has since been converted to commercial use. SANTA CLARITA – State regulators overseeing pollution tests at two Santa Clarita sites say they have found only minor contamination at one property but landowners have been slow in responding to requests for further tests. A small area of pollution was found at the site of National Technical Systems, a defense contractor that for years conducted secret testing in what is now the burgeoning center of town, officials said. “They found minor soil contamination outside a chemical storage area and the investigation is complete. We have no issues,” said Jose Diaz, a project manager for the Department of Toxic Substances Control. National Technical Systems split its 150-acre parcel for the testing and officials said one cubic yard of soil was found to be polluted in a 120-acre section that was listed for sale by the company last year. last_img

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