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EPA Completes Cyanide Cleanup

May 21, 1987

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has completed pumping 10,000 gallons of cyanides from leaking vats at an abandoned Monrovia metal plating company into holding tanks at the site.

The pumping Monday and Tuesday nights was considered the most potentially dangerous part of the toxic waste cleanup at Abco Metal Finishing, 1621 S. Myrtle Ave.

The tanks will be taken to toxic waste dumps or treatment plants in Utah or Nevada unless the EPA determines it can neutralize the material on the site, said Janet Bennett, public information coordinator for the city.

The EPA will pump out vats containing 5,000 gallons of various acids beginning tonight or Friday night and expects to complete its $400,000 cleanup operation by June 7, Bennett said.

Meanwhile, 10 people who live next to the plant will remain at a local hotel until officials decide it is safe to go home, where it is possible that the soil may have been contaminated with heavy metals containing cadmium.

During a routine inspection in January, the Monrovia Fire Department discovered safety violations in the storage of cyanides and acids. A month later, the plant was abandoned by its owner, Eddie Knipe, who told officials he was ill and could not afford to clean up the property.

It has not been determined who will pay the cost of the cleanup.

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