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La Mesa Plant to Move More Toxic Waste

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The toxic gas plant that manufactured the chemicals involved in a hazardous waste spill in Spring Valley still has at least one other similar truckload of material to transport before it vacates its La Mesa plant, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

The material was being transported Monday by truck from Phoenix Research Corp. to a dump site by Chemical Waste Management, which has assumed financial responsibility for the one-vehicle accident, Chemical Waste Management spokeswoman Kathy Wimberly said Tuesday.

“There is still some hazardous material at the La Mesa plant. There is about a similar truckload of the same type of material that still has to go out,” said Jim Secor, spokesman for Union Carbide Industrial Gases in Danbury, Conn. Phoenix Research Corp. is a Union Carbide subsidiary.

Secor said the Alvarado Road plant contains hazardous chemicals ranging from oils tainted with arsenic to acids used for metal cleaning.

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“Most of the toxic material is at a low-hazard potential, but, because it has any potential at all, we treat it as if it were hazardous,” Secor said. He said the plant will be rid of the toxic material by the week of July 9.

The Spring Street ramps of California 94 were closed for about nine hours Monday after the truck carrying hazardous waste, in the form of chopped up canisters contaminated with arsenic, lead and mercury, spilled the load at the intersection of Spring Street and Broadway at 10:15 a.m.

Wimberly said the load was being transported legally and complied with the guidelines set down by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation and government ordinances. She said the cause of the accident has not been determined by the company.

Phoenix Research Corp. has been decommissioning the plant since relocating to one 10 miles outside Kingman, Ariz. Secor said the Kingman plant is scheduled to open within the next two months.

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Phoenix Research Corp. decided to move after it ran into problems with the city of La Mesa and with the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, which were concerned about toxic chemicals being in a densely populated area.


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