The Region

Spurred by recent discoveries of extensive off-site hydrocarbon leakage and ground-water contamination at the Chevron USA Inc. refinery in El Segundo, the state Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered all Southern California refineries to begin testing on and off their plant sites for possible ground-water and soil contamination. The order requires the 15 refineries affected to submit plans within 30 days and gives them 90 days to complete the investigations. Refineries finding contamination of either ground water or the soil are required to begin cleanup immediately. Chevron acknowledged last month that a hydrocarbon pool--described by a refinery official as a "gasoline mud pie"--had been leaking for some time in El Segundo.

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