The federal government ordered Montrose Chemical Corp. on Wednesday to clean up thousands of cubic yards of DDT-tainted fill in a South Bay neighborhood, maintaining that the contamination came from the long-closed Montrose DDT factory a quarter-mile away.
In an order issued Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is requiring Montrose to undertake the $5-million cleanup along 204th Street in an unincorporated area east of Torrance, where the discovery of DDT more than a year ago prompted a voluntary relocation of many residents.
Today, the neighborhood is a virtual ghost town, as 32 families remain in hotels and rented homes at federal expense until a cleanup is complete.
The EPA order is the latest chapter in a long dispute over what the federal government alleges is broad environmental damage, both on land and offshore, wrought by the former Normandie Avenue factory.
But attorneys for Montrose, once the nation's largest DDT manufacturer, express skepticism that the DDT found along 204th Street is linked to the company.