MAY 2010

California EPA assesses toxicity in Kettleman City
Included in the tests will be the Kettleman hazardous waste disposal facility

The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) released its draft exposure assessment outline for Kettleman City and discussed the plan with residents at a community meeting.

The draft exposure assessment outline details how Cal/EPA and its boards, departments and office will proceed with testing of soil, air and water around Kettleman City. In developing the document, Cal/EPA scientists identified chemicals potentially found in Kettleman City that may cause birth defects, as well as possible sources of those chemicals. They are also developing plans for sampling and analyzing those chemicals.

Scientists from Cal/EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Air Resources Board, Department of Pesticide Regulation, State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Toxic Substances Control have developed a list of 28 chemicals that should be tested for in Kettleman City. The list contains industrial chemicals and pesticides, as well as arsenic, which is naturally occurring in the area.

Cal/EPA will examine the potential sources of the chemicals from present and past activities including the Kettleman Hills hazardous waste disposal facility; agricultural operations; naturally occurring contaminants, industrial and legacy petroleum sources; illegal dumping; and arsenic in the drinking water.

This effort is in response to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s request that the California Department of Public Health and Cal/EPA take aggressive action to investigate birth defects reported in Kettleman City. The departments are coordinating their investigative efforts.

Cal/EPA will finalize the exposure assessment workplan and in April will begin collecting soil, air and water samples around the community. A final report to the community should be completed by November.