Study Shows DDT Dump Site off Catalina Bigger Than Thought; Half Million Barrels Could Still be in Ocean After $316M Super Fund Suit Settlement Finally Implemented in 2020

SITUATION:
Recent UC Santa Barbara Study & Feinstein briefing re-surfaced problem.
Thousands of barrels of DDT Dumped may still be in 3,000 feet of Ocean.
Just 12 miles of the California coast line.- North of Catalina Island.
Experts say we are just seeing the tip of the Iceberg after all these years.
New mapping data of area shows hot spots or path of dumping by barges/ships.
$140 M Superfund battle from 1990 appeared to be settled in 2020.
DDT originated from Montrose Chemical plant located in Torrance, California.
Once the site of one of the largest DDT manufacturing plants in the world.
Plant operated by LA County Sanitation District collection system released wastewater into ocean

 SIGNIFICANCE:
Diane Feinstein’s Senate Committee briefings recently pushed issue to forefront.
UC Study found over 27,000 barrel anomalies; 100,000 debris objects.
Computer algorithm & Big Data “guns” made the re-count possible & usable.
Two week expedition found dumping was not confined to just one area of ocean off Catalina.
Algorithm & new data analysis helped find that there is more barrels & debris waste in ocean.
Deaths of dolphins & cancer in sea lions still linked to DDT.
Numerous high level meetings have rendered little progress in past.

Who were the four companies involved owning & manufactured the DDT?
Montrose Chemical Corp., Chris-Craft Industries, Aventis Crop Science USA Inc. & Atkemix Thirty-Seven Inc.

SOLUTIONS:
Dump Case & settlement came up at recent Feinstein hearing in Washington.
Seeking to find the companies and people that did this dumping liable.
Use of Two high tech robots scoped 36,000 acres of ocean floor show barrels.
Scripps NOAA mapping efforts contributed to the find & extent of dump area.
EPA intends to implement capping project, placing clean sediment over the contaminated ocean floor to isolate it from bio-availability.

SEZ:
“This is such a dark place in our environmental history” – Mark Gold
“The Southern California offshore dumping industry clearly got away with dumping wherever they wanted.” –  David Valentine, Head of Research Team
“Counting the barrels was like watching Lucy in the Chocolate Factory.” – Eric Terrill, UC San Diego Scripps Institution lead team of 31 scientists

STATS:
Over 500,000 barrels could be the count still in the Ocean.
Grand total of suits for offshore deposit for the settlement : $136.7 million

SOURCES:
1) Stunning DDT dump site off L.A. coast much bigger than scientists expected –https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-04-26/ddt-waste-barrels-off-la-coast-shock-california-scientists

2)Pesticide DDT in Southern California –https://www.justice.gov/enrd/us-v-montrose-chem-corp

3) https://www.latimes.com/projects/la-coast-ddt-dumping-ground/

4) “L.A.’s coast was once a DDT dumping ground.” – Rosanna Xia. Staff Writer
Rosanna Xia is an environment reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
Covers the coast and has written about sea level risetoxic dumping and endangered species in the deep ocean.
Her stories connect science and policy and have led to new laws and regulations.
Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2020 for explanatory reporting and holds a degree in quantitative economics from Tufts University.

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