Rendering of the Monterey Park Market Place

Rendering of the Monterey Park Market Place

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Jan. 17 it is targeting a former landfill site in Monterey Park currently on its Superfund list of the most toxic cases as one of 30 sites nationwide for redevelopment.

The list, which includes two other sites in California, names the first of the Superfund sites to be redeveloped and follows recommendations released last summer that the EPA play a greater role in finding and working with developers to speed up the redevelopment process.

“EPA is more than a collaborative partner to remediate the nation’s most contaminated sites, we’re also working to successfully integrate Superfund sites back into communities across the country,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. “Today’s redevelopment list incorporates Superfund sites ready to become catalysts for economic growth and revitalization.”

The 190-acre Operating Industries site on both sides of the Pomona (60) Freeway in Monterey Park was a landfill from 1948 through 1984; it was placed on the EPA’s National Priorities List (also known as Superfund) in 1986. The agency spent millions of dollars to install systems to collect gas escaping from the landfill and prevent toxic chemicals from leaching into nearby soil. It also installed a system to convert landfill gas into electricity, much of which was used to power ongoing monitoring activities on the site.

Once the main cleanup was completed in 1996, the site was rezoned retail and office space. M&M Realty Partners broke ground in late 2016 on construction of the 500,000-square-foot Monterey Park Market Place shopping center on 51 acres at the site that is slated to be anchored by Costco and Home Depot Inc. stores, along with Chick-fil-A and In-N-Out Burgers restaurant, a bank outlet and a fitness center.

EPA officials said the site can accommodate more commercial, office and even solar power development, and released a marketing page for real estate agents and developers, saying that some use restrictions and other institutional controls “ensure that there is no exposure pathway to contaminated groundwater, soils and landfill gas vapors.”

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.