City of Avalon supporting DDT cleanup resolution

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Avalon Assistant City Manager Michael Parmer reported at last week’s city council meeting that the city had participated in an April 21 Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee meeting regarding the rediscovered and mapped DDT waste site.

Avalon representatives participated by phone and provided a two-minute testimony in support of the Assembly Joint Resolution 2, authored by O’Donnell to address the issue and take steps to remediate and clean up the site. The resolution and the push to understand the full scope of the issue have been gaining momentum. Also, the need to clean up the site. The city of Avalon was contacted by O’Donnell’s office about putting its support behind the resolution.

“The city absolutely and emphatically said they would definitely support that,” Parmer told the council.

O’Donnell’s resolution passed unanimously out of committee and was then passed in a full Assembly Floor vote with 70 yes votes and zero no votes. The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors recently approved a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn that urges the Board’s support of the resolution authored by O’Donnell.

A recent mapping of the ocean floor, about 3,000 feet deep, showed the estimated 27,000 barrels. High levels of toxic waste has been found in the sea floor. From 1947 to 1983, Montrose Chemical Corporation, was the nation’s largest manufacturer of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). Their plant was located in the Del Amo community near Torrance. The chemical waste from the production was dumped into the ocean through sewer lines, as well as off shore in barrels off barges.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn presented a motion of support for the resolution and it was unanimously approved by the board. The motion puts the weight of the county’s Sacramento advocates behind the AJR2 and also included a letter to “EPA Administrator Michael Regan urging the EPA to assess the DDT damage off the coast of Catalina Island and to expedite cleanup of the extensive dumpsite,” a report from Hahn’s office stated.

From 1947 to 1983, Montrose Chemical Corporation, was the nation’s largest manufacturer of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). Their plant was located in the Del Amo community near Torrance. The chemical waste from the production was dumped into the ocean through sewer lines, as well as off shore in barrels off barges.

Avalon officials are now working directly with Hahn’s office via one of her representatives to keep abreast of any new information. Most of the information that has come out has been from publicly available sources and media reports. An October 2020 investigative report in the Los Angeles Times, led to a mapping of the ocean floor by UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which documented the estimated 27,000 barrels. Avalon is looking to be read in on any new findings.

“While I had asked if it was possible that we be read in on reports that federal and state officials have been receiving we haven’t received anything from any entity,” City Council member Lisa Lavelle said.

The dump site is several miles off the shores of Catalina and at a depth of about 3,000 feet. Catalina waters are regularly tested by organizations such as Heal the Bay, which gave the Avalon beaches straight A grades in summer dry conditions in its 2020 report. However, those tests don’t generally test for things like DDT waste, but more for bacteria and sewage-type waste products.

“In that respect, our waters are exceptionally clean,” Parmer said.

City of Avalon supporting DDT cleanup resolution