U.S. EPA to conduct soil, air sampling at Atlas, Coalinga Asbestos Mines Superfund Sites
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is conducting soil and air sampling work at a portion of the Atlas and Coalinga Asbestos Mines Superfund Sites in Coalinga, Calif. during the weeks of Oct. 9 and Nov. 5.
As part of the Superfund process, the EPA conducted a five-year review in 2006 of the Coalinga Asbestos Mine site cleanup. The review noted that the cleanup standard for asbestos in soil had changed, and recommended the EPA sample soil and air to determine that the cleanup continues to protect human health and the environment.
“We are sampling to ensure that the site cleanup the EPA did in the early 1990’s continues to protect the community,” said Keith Takata, the EPA Superfund Director for the Pacific Southwest region. “The information gathered will determine if additional work is necessary.”
Beginning Oct. 9, the EPA will collect soil samples in Coalinga along West Elm Avenue south of Pacific Street and north and south of the underground waste management unit, which was built during the original cleanup to store asbestos contaminated material. The agency will also take samples in four separate areas of city property for background comparison.
In early November, some areas where soil samples were collected will be raked to produce small, localized dust clouds. Technicians will wear personal air samplers to measure any asbestos released into the breathing zone from the disturbed soil. Soil and air sampling should not affect anyone at surrounding homes or businesses.
During sampling activities, technicians wear white protective clothing and respiratory protection as a precaution. Because these technicians routinely work with hazardous materials, federal health and safety rules require them to wear protective gear
In the early 1990’s, the EPA cleaned up a 107-acre parcel adjacent to West Elm Avenue south of Highway 33 in Coalinga where asbestos from the Atlas and Coalinga asbestos mines was processed and shipped. Approximately 20,000 cubic yards of asbestos, chromium, and nickel-contaminated soil and building debris was excavated from the surface of the site and consolidated into an on-site underground waste management unit. The waste management unit is fenced and posted, and is maintained by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
The EPA will report the sampling results in early 2008. The agency will evaluate the results and inform the community of any future activities that may be necessary at the site.
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