LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced a final $22 million settlement with a group of 40 parties to help clean up the Cooper Drum site.
Cooper Drum is a 3.8-acre site located in a commercial, industrial and residential area of South Gate about 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The Cooper Drum Co. used the site for almost two decades, from 1974 to 1992, to recondition used steel drums from industrial customers. At the site, the steel drums would be washed and prepared for reuse. A problem allegedly developed because chemicals would spill off in the process and over time contaminated soils and groundwater.
The EPA has spent the last 14 years trying to clean up the site. From 2001 to 2009, it relied on public funding, but then agency investigators uncovered former customers of the drum reconditioning business. Since that time, the settling parties – known as the Cooper Drum Cooperating Parties Group – have funded the cleanup.
“Today’s settlement is a binding commitment to pursue the final cleanup of this former industrial site,” Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said. “Our goal is to protect the residents of South Gate from the toxic chemicals that have contaminate their local groundwater."