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Toxic metals: Ventura County Superfund site is expanding into wetlands

February 27, 2011 |  3:18 pm

Contamination is spreading from an old coastal Oxnard metal recycling plant, which is now a federal Superfund site. The Environmental Protection Agency reported Thursday that lead, zinc and other pollutants are migrating from the 40-acre Halaco plant to the neighboring Ormond Beach wetlands, which is home to several rare and endangered species.

Superfund project manager Wayne Praskins told the Ventura County Star that the discovery complicates cleanup efforts and the EPA will likely need to expand the Superfund cleanup to include areas adjacent to the site.

However, the EPA, which regulates air, water and toxics contamination nationwide, is a target of massive budget cuts proposed by Republicans in Congress who say the agency's rules are burdensome for businesses.

Halaco shut down the plant years ago and filed for bankruptcy, leaving a massive waste heap laden with heavy metals and trace amounts of radioactive thorium.

-- Margot Roosevelt, with the Associated Press

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