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USA: Environmental Protection Agency Orders NASA to clean-up soils threatening sensitive habitat

EPA and the California State Regional Water Quality Control Board will continue to negotiate a facility-wide cleanup

On Weds 15 March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today ordered the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to take immediate and long-term actions to address soil contamination at its Ames Research Center at the Moffett Field Naval Air Station in Mountain View, Calif. This order is part of an effort to enter into a long-term cleanup agreement with NASA for the Ames site.

Soils at the site--contaminated with poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead, chromium, zinc, cadmium, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)--pose a threat to local wildlife, including the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse, and have the potential to re-contaminate an adjacent storm-water retention pond that the U.S. Navy spent $9.7 million cleaning up in 2012.

In the coming months, EPA and the California State Regional Water Quality Control Board will continue to negotiate a facility-wide cleanup agreement with NASA for its remaining environmental cleanup responsibilities at the Moffett Field Superfund Site. Once the agreement is signed, EPA will monitor NASA’s work to ensure proper and timely implementation of the cleanup.