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The Cooper Drum Co. site is a 3.8-acre facility located at 9316 South Atlantic Avenue in South Gate, California. Rayo Avenue borders the site to the east and the former Tweedy Elementary School property is located directly to the south. From 1941 until 1992, Cooper Drum Co. reconditioned closed-topped steel drums that previously held industrial chemicals. The reconditioning process consisted of flushing out and stripping the drums for painting and resale. Heavy-duty cleaning called “hard washing” took place on the northeast part of the Site (the former hard wash area, or HWA), when necessary. Beginning in 1976, reconditioning activities took place at the present-day drum processing area (DPA), located on what is now the central part of the site. Fluids generated by reconditioning and hard washing activities were collected in open concrete pits and trenches. This led to the contamination of soil and groundwater beneath the site. The site’s long-term cleanup is ongoing.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal, state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions. Currently a this site cleanup is being funded by the PRP.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

EPA recently approved work plans for soil and groundwater cleanup. Construction of a soil vapor extraction (SVE) treatment system has finished; the system began operating in February 2011. Construction of the groundwater treatment system finished in September 2011. The dual-phase extraction (DPE) wells began operating in April 2012, after a wastewater discharge permit was obtained from the Los Angeles County Sanitation District. The DPE wells extract contaminated water from the perched aquifer and allow the SVE system to remove and treat the contaminated soil vapor from this perched zone. The extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater from the aquifer beneath the site began in August 2012 from an on-site groundwater extraction well. The next step is to put in remaining extraction wells and conveyance piping off-site across Rayo Avenue in order to begin treating the contaminated groundwater plume that extends to Southern Avenue.

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Emergency Response and Removal

Site cleanup has also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. In April 1987, contaminated soil at Tweedy Elementary School was excavated, the area was paved and the school was closed. The City of South Gate closed four municipal wells in the same year.

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