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Case Summary: $11 Million Cleanup Settlement Helps Protect Drinking Water in Rialto, Calif.

On January 31, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached an $11 million settlement to address contamination at the Rockets, Fireworks, and Flares Superfund Site in Rialto, Calif. The site was formerly known as the B.F. Goodrich Superfund Site, but the name was changed by EPA as part of a prior agreement with a major settling party. The settlement is with the estate of Harry Hescox, the late president of a defunct company known as Pyrotronics, which manufactured fireworks at the site.

This settlement, along with two previous settlements at the site, will result in a comprehensive cleanup which may total as much as $100 million.

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“EPA is pleased to conclude a decade of litigation that secured agreements from several parties contributing cash or work for the soil and ground water cleanup. This final settlement will provide additional funds needed to protect a valuable source of drinking water in Southern California.” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Regional Administrator

Information about Pyrotronics

Pyrotronics manufactured fireworks at the site. During its operations, Pyrotronics constructed a concrete-lined pond to dissolve explosive wastes containing perchlorate and other chemicals and disposed of wastes onsite. High concentrations of perchlorate have been found in the soil beneath the pond and in ground water immediately downgradient.

Information about the Rockets, Fireworks, and Flares Superfund Site

The Rockets, Fireworks, and Flares Superfund Site, formerly known as the B.F. Goodrich Site includes a 160-acre area in Rialto, Calif. where volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and perchlorate have contaminated soil and ground water. The 160-acre area was part of a larger area acquired by the U.S. Army in 1942 to develop an inspection, consolidation, and storage facility for rail cars transporting ordnance to the Port of Los Angeles. Since the U.S. sold the Rialto property in 1946, a portion of the property has been used by defense contractors, fireworks manufacturers, and other businesses that used perchlorate salts and/or solvents in their manufacturing processes or products. In 1956 and 1957, West Coast Loading Corporation manufactured and tested two products, photoflash flares and "ground-burst simulators," containing potassium perchlorate. From approximately 1957 to 1962, B.F. Goodrich Corporation conducted research, development, testing, and production of solid-fuel rocket propellant containing ammonium perchlorate, and used solvents in the manufacturing process. Since the 1960s, the 160-acre area has been used by a number of companies that manufactured or sold pyrotechnics, including Pyrotronics, Pyro Spectaculars, and American Promotional Events.

More information about the RRF Superfund Site.

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Summary of the Consent Decree

Under the terms of the agreement, $5.5 million will be used towards the cleanup work. The remaining $5.5 million will go to reimburse EPA for work it conducted at the site over the last several years.

Contact information

For more information contact

Brian K. Thompson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

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