South Bay

In an effort to limit any lingering health hazards, the Montrose Chemical Corp. has begun to grade and will pave its former DDT manufacturing plant in the Los Angeles city strip area.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the South Coast Air Quality Management District will oversee the grading and installation of a 2- to 3-inch asphalt cover over the entire 13-acre site on Normandie Avenue near Del Amo Boulevard.

EPA officials said plans for the six-week project--which is not regarded as a final cleanup--provide for controlling dust during grading and monitoring the air for any DDT released.

Montrose officials said they are placing the asphalt cover to further comply with an order issued by the EPA in 1983. Montrose was ordered to prevent the discharge of the now-banned pesticide, a suspected carcinogen, after traces of it were found in the waters of Los Angeles Harbor and traced back to Montrose. The chemical company built a six-inch shoulder to prevent contaminated rainwater from running off the property.

EPA officials said there was some concern that a major storm could destroy the shoulder, which could release DDT-laced waste into the air and into rainwater.

Last month, the EPA and Montrose announced that they would begin a new study to determine the extent of any remaining contamination on the site and the nearby county sewer and storm drain system.

Cleanup options at Montrose, which has been placed on the federal Superfund list of toxic waste sites that need immediate attention, will come at the conclusion of the new tests, expected to take nine to 12 months.

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