Undersea contaminated land capping announced

More than $50m will be spent tackling contaminated land off the coast of California, America's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.

An area known as the Palos Verdes Shelf, off the coast of Los Angles is contaminated with DDT, a synthetic pesticide, and PCB used as a early fluorescent lighting manufacture.

DDT was linked to health issues and was banned in the US in 1972, while PCBs were banned from manufacture in 1976 due to the substances resistance to degradation.

Pollution took place between the 1950’s through until 1971 when the city’s industry let DDT and PCBs into the sanitation system and it ended up on the shelf.

Now the contamination stretches for a distance of about nine miles off the coast of California.

Authorities estimate the shelf has been contaminated with around 110 tons of DDT and about ten tons of PCB.

The most contaminated land will be covered with a layer of clean material and capped.

EPA’s director for the Pacific Southwest region, Keith Takata, said: “Signing this interim cleanup plan is a major milestone putting the Palos Verdes Shelf on the road to remediation.

“The EPA will spend more than $50m to cap the most contaminated sediment on the shelf, as well as continue the highly effective public outreach program to protect at-risk populations from consuming contaminated fish.”

Luke Walsh

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