Of the countless polluted sites throughout Los Angeles, here are five that arguably hold the most promise for being cleaned up, redeveloped and redeployed to accommodate future economic growth.
Pier S, Port of Long Beach
Location: Terminal Island
Size: 75 acres
Current use: Oil production; disposal site for crude oil tank bottoms and excavated mud
Owner: City of Long Beach Harbor Department
On-site toxins: Various oil byproducts, including volatile organic compounds and aromatic hydrocarbons, also some heavy metals. Most of the toxins lie at the bottom of shallow pools of groundwater.
How it got that way: From the early 1930s, various entities have used the site for oil production. Between 1965 and 1970, then-owner Union Pacific Resources Co. leased parts of the property to outside parties for disposal of crude oil tank bottoms and excavated mud. According to a report from the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, there were anecdotal accounts that some types of waste disposed of on the site were not consistent with the terms in these lease contracts. In 1994, the city of Long Beach purchased the site from UPRC with the goal of converting it into a marine terminal that could then be leased out again.
Cleanup prescription: According to an April 1999 action plan, the Long Beach Harbor Department has proposed removing some of the underwater soil, mixing some of the soil with cement and then sandwiching that mix between two layers of clean landfill. This would help prevent surface water from percolating through the soil and spreading the hazardous materials. In April, the specific cleanup procedures and goals were agreed upon, and the actual cleanup is scheduled to be complete in early 2002.
Most likely reuse: Marine terminal
Golden Eagle Refinery
Location: 12000 S. Figueroa St., Carson
Size: 30 acres
Current use: Super Kmart on portion of site, with remainder sitting vacant
Owners: LASMO Oil and Gas Inc. and Golden Eagle Refining Co.
On-site toxins: Twenty acres of the site are contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and lead, both in the soil and groundwater. Ten acres of the site are contaminated with lead and various other unidentified hazardous wastes, including sludge.
How it got that way: From 1922 to 1984, an oil refinery operated on 20 acres of the site. The refinery was closed and torn down in 1985, leaving oil contamination behind. The soil contamination was cleaned up in 1995, and in 1997, a Super Kmart located on this portion of the site. But the oil gradually seeped into local groundwater, creating a 250,000-gallon plume. There was some concern that the plume would migrate into a nearby portion of groundwater tapped for drinking water. In 1998, state regulators determined there was no such threat. Kmart continues to monitor the site.
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