A California environmental group threatened to sue Montrose Chemical Corp. and Bayer Corp., alleging they’re liable for the dumping of millions of gallons of the pesticide DDT off the waters of Los Angeles that poisoned wildlife.
The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday sent notices of intent to sue in federal court to both companies for allegedly violating hazardous waste laws.
It alleged that between 1947 at least 1961, Montrose contractors dumped between 10 million and 14 million gallons of dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) near Santa Catalina Island, about 12 miles off Los Angeles. The chemical from its Torrence facility had been placed in containers, loaded on barges and taken offshore, the group said.
“It is time for the manufacturers and willing successors of this toxic stew to take responsibility for this travesty and clean up their mess,” attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who represents the center, said in a news release.
The lawsuit will cite alleged violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and seek an order to clean up the contamination.
Neither Montrose not Bayer, which took over ownership of a company that owned the plant, immediately responded to requests for comment.
Montrose was the largest manufacturer of DDT in the country. The United States banned the pesticide in 1972 because it was toxic to water birds and other wildlife.
Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego announced in April they had mapped more than 25,000 barrels in one area but that more exploration was needed to document the extent of dumping, some of which was permitted.
The Environmental Protection Agency is working with state and federal agencies to investigate historical dumping in the area.