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Stringfellow Superfund Site, Riverside County, California
Date Posted: November 26, 2001The Carlsbad Office’s Environmental Contaminants program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) are currently evaluating possible threats to wildlife from environmental contamination at the Stringfellow Superfund Site. The site is an inactive hazardous waste disposal facility in Riverside County, California that is located within critical habitat for the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) and near the proposed critical habitat for the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rats (Dipodomys merriami parvus). Both species are known to occur nearby.
Prior to the 1970s [the site operated from 1956-1972], approximately 34 million gallons of industrial waste from metal finishing, electroplating and DDT production were disposed of in unlined evaporation ponds at the facility. Wastes from these ponds, mainly volatile organic compounds (VOCs), migrated into the groundwater. VOCs are released from solvents, paints, glues and other products used at work or at home and from burning fuel (gasoline, oil, wood coal, natural gas, etc.). According to the EPA, many VOCs can cause serious health problems such as cancer and other effects.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, several actions were taken to avoid or minimize further groundwater contamination. These actions included removing waste, covering the ponds with an impermeable material (capping) to control water infiltration and prevent movement of contaminants through the soil and into the groundwater, and treating groundwater to remove contaminants or reduce them to acceptable drinking water levels. Once the interagency team completes their ecological risk assessment, additional remedial actions may be recommended to further reduce potential threats to wildlife.