Shell Oil Co. will spend $55 million to clean contaminated soil at a former rubber plant in the South Bay of Los Angeles County, California under an agreement with the federal government that was announced Wednesday.
The settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and other parties, known as a consent decree, requires Shell to clean harmful soil vapors and undertake other cleanup measures at the the Del Amo Superfund site near Torrance over the next several years.
The 280-acre complex, built during World War II, manufactured synthetic rubber and dumped chemical waste — including benzene, propane, butylene and butane — into unlined pits and evaporation ponds, causing extensive contamination of the soil and groundwater. It operated until 1972.
Earlier this year, the EPA tested air quality inside more than 100 homes near the Del Amo site, where residents worry they are breathing dangerous vapors seeping up from the plume of tainted groundwater below.
The agency found pollutants associated with the cleanup sites, including benzene, chloroform and trichloroethylene, and has since ordered an additional round of testing.