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TORRANCE : EPA to Test Indoor Air, Water Near Chemical Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday began testing indoor air and tap water in a South Bay neighborhood where residents have complained of health problems that they fear are caused by two nearby toxic chemical sites.

The tests, to be completed in two to three weeks, are part of a $1.7-million program announced two months ago to search for possible contaminants in the neighborhood east of Torrance.

EPA officials say the tests will determine if unusual levels of benzene, napthalene or DDT exist in neighborhood homes. Residents requested the tests after a federal cleanup project turned up chunks of DDT behind two homes this spring.

Indoor air and tap water will be tested at the homes of 33 families who were relocated to hotels at federal expense after the DDT discovery. The homes are along West 204th Street east of Normandie Avenue and west of New Hampshire Avenue.

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The neighborhood sits near the former Montrose Chemical Corp., a former DDT manufacturer that is now a federal Superfund site. To the north of the street is a proposed Superfund site that was once a synthetic rubber factory operated by Shell Oil Co. and the Dow Chemical Co., among others. Portions of that site contain benzene and napthalene.

The EPA will discuss the testing and planned cleanup activities at a public meeting from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the Gateway Ballroom of the Harbor Gateway Holiday Inn, 19800 S. Vermont Ave.


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