The town of Casmalia, about an hour north of Santa Barbara and just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, is best known as home of The Hitching Post restaurant, one of the best steak joints in the country and winner of the 2010 National Beef Backer Award.

But the old railroad boom-town is not exactly booming these days, as its population has sunk to around 200 people.

One of the main reasons why is the 252-acre toxic waste site about a mile outside of town. But today the EPA announced another step toward cleaning up the coastal community.

The EPA says that 49 former polluters agreed to fork over $1.2 million toward cleaning up the former toxic dump, upon which companies tossed about 5.6 billion pounds of waste between 1973 and 1989.

So far, the feds have collected more than $110 million of the $284 million that the 49 responsible parties have agreed to pay toward clean-up.

“EPA is committed to making polluters pay their fair share for as long as necessary,” Jared Blumenfeld of the EPA said in a statement. “We will continue to reduce environmental threats to the communities and businesses near this Superfund site until we are confident that the job is done.”

The EPA took over the site in 1992 after the owners and operators abandoned their attempts to clean up. The Casmalia Resources Superfund Site was placed on the National Priorities List in 2001.

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