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A hazardous creosote site off the Superfund list


Narrator:    This is Science Today. One of the Environmental Protection Agency's first contaminated sites to be put on the Superfund list, became the first creosote site to be taken off that list. Using technology developed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Visalia, California, site, which was contaminated by creosote to treat utility poles, was cleaned up 100 years ahead of schedule. Lab geophysicist Roger Aines says the original estimate was based on a pumping method used by Southern California Edison Co.

Aines:          With that pumping method, they were removing about 10 pounds of creosote a month. And so the 100 years is really kind of an estimate based upon what if we kept doing that, you know, basically forever. There was no prospect that that site was going to ever be closed. It was always going to be controlled, owned by Edison and not available for any other use.

Narrator:    But using a Lab-developed steam-cleaning method, Edison — with the help of the lab monitoring the results — was able to clean up the site.

Aines:        We're talking completely clean. The Visalia site is now unrestricted; it can be used for anything.

Narrator:    For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.