More test­ing at Lang

State of­fi­cials issue year-long work order to clean up sta­tion

The Signal - - News - By Jim Holt Sig­nal Se­nior Staff Writer

State of­fi­cials mon­i­tor­ing the cleanup of Lang Sta­tion — the con­tam­i­nated site owned by the Lubri­ca­tion Com­pany of Amer­ica — have or­dered the test­ing of soil, air and wa­ter over the course of this year.

A work order issued Nov. 16 by the De­part­ment of Toxic Sub­stances Con­trol calls for the year-long op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance of “soil va­por ex­trac­tion,” col­lect­ing volatile or­ganic com­pounds re­leased on the site.

The work order also calls for car­ry­ing out the ex­trac­tion process in ac­cor­dance with guide­lines laid down by the South Coast Air Qual­ity Man­age­ment Dis­trict.

Com­pli­cat­ing the op­er­a­tion was the dis­cov­ery last June that one of four wells in­stalled just one month prior — to mon­i­tor deep ground­wa­ter — had been dam­aged by grad­ing near the Metrolink tracks on Soledad Canyon Road.

In a let­ter ex­plain­ing the work to be done, state of­fi­cials pointed out that fur­ther tests were nec­es­sary, based on 2018 find­ings.

“Based on the re­cent soil sam­pling and ground­wa­ter sam­pling re­sults, soil va­por ex­trac­tion op­er­a­tions may re­sume to ad­dress the resid­ual VOC and TPH va­pors per­sis­tent at the site.”

Volatile chem­i­cals

Volatile or­ganic chem­i­cals, re­ferred to by state of­fi­cials, are com­monly re­leased through the break­down of plas­tics.

Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, VOCs are or­ganic chem­i­cals that have a high va­por pres­sure at or­di­nary, room-tem­per­a­ture con­di­tions.

Many VOCs, ac­cord­ing to the EPA, are dan­ger­ous to hu­mans and harm­ful to the en­vi­ron­ment.

The safety thresh­old for VOCs set by the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health is 5 parts per bil­lion. VOC amounts less than 0.5 ppb are not re­quired to be re­ported.

The “TPH va­pors per­sist­ing at the site” s in ref­er­ence to the to­tal amount of pe­tro­leum hy­dro­car­bons found.

En­gi­neers as­sess­ing the cleanup re­ported re­sults of tests car­ried out in March 2015 that showed low im­pacts to ground­wa­ter of to­tal pe­tro­leum hy­dro­car­bons in two of the mon­i­tor­ing wells on site.

They noted that “TPH was not pre­vi­ously tested for dur­ing the 1998 sam­pling event.”

Ex­perts found one mon­i­tor­ing well con­tained petro­chem­i­cals de­scribed as “gaso­line range or­gan­ics” in the ground­wa­ter.

They also found de­tectable levels of other petro­chem­i­cals called “diesel range or­gan­ics” and “motor oil range or­gan­ics” in the same mon­i­tor­ing well and in a second well.

Cleanup op­er­a­tions last year, in part, in­volved re­mov­ing veg­e­ta­tion and re­pair­ing cracks in as­phalt put down to shield the con­tam­i­na­tion.

Dam­aged well

State of­fi­cials made spe­cial note of the dam­aged mon­i­tor­ing well in their work order.

“Miss­ing off site ground­wa­ter mon­i­tor­ing well MW-3 was found, un­cov­ered and in­spected and de­ter­mined to be dam­aged and un­us­able,” state of­fi­cials re­ported in their work order.

“Well MW-3 needs to be prop­erly aban­doned per Los Angeles County guide­lines.”

This past week, state of­fi­cials were asked to ex­plain the im­pli­ca­tions of the un­cov­ered mon­i­tor­ing well.

“Ground­wa­ter mon­i­tor­ing well MW-3 is not a wa­ter pro­duc­tion well,” said Russ Ed­mond­son, spokesman for the De­part­ment of Toxic Sub­stance Con­trol.

“The sub­ject well does not have an above-ground pump and well­head. MW-3 is lo­cated off­site within the Metrolink rail­road right of way.”

Re­cent grad­ing done near the mon­i­tor­ing well ended up dam­ag­ing it, he said.

Grad­ing ac­tiv­i­ties

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by AECOM — the firm con­tracted by to carry out the cleanup — MW-3 was buried by grad­ing ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing ex­pan­sion of Metrolink Main­te­nance Yard. The sub­ject well was un­cov­ered re­cently. Upon un­cov­er­ing the well cover/ box, the well was opened, in­spected and gauged, and an ob­struc­tion was dis­cov­ered at ap­prox­i­mately 28 feet be­low ground sur­face.

“A video cam­era was sent down the well to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate the ob­struc­tion,” Ed­mon­ston said.

“A solid un­known ob­struc­tion, which ap­pears to be a hard bot­tom, was con­firmed at ap­prox­i­mately 28 feet be­low ground sur­face. The well is per­ma­nently dam­aged and will be prop­erly aban­doned per Los Angeles County Pub­lic Health re­quire­ments.”

While the site is be­ing as­sessed by pub­lic health of­fi­cials, a Moor­park busi­ness­man re­mains in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing the Lang Sta­tion prop­erty and even paid for pri­vate test­ing of soil, air and wa­ter.

“We’re just wait­ing for DTSC (De­part­ment of Toxic Sub­stances Con­trol) to fin­ish work on it,” Louis McCutcheon said in Septem­ber, adding that he wants to use the Lang Sta­tion prop­erty for “good com­mer­cial or in­dus­trial use, once state of­fi­cials mon­i­tor­ing the cleanup give the green light.”

Early land use

The Lubri­ca­tion Com­pany of Amer­ica started re­cy­cling used oil at Lang Sta­tion at an oil pro­cess­ing and re­cy­cling plant in 1969. For eight years, it re­cy­cled bunker fu­els, used en­gine oil, jet fu­els and hy­draulic oil.

It also han­dled wastes con­tain­ing poly­chlo­ri­nated biphenyls (PCBs), sul­fu­ric acid, sul­fur mono-chlo­ride and heavy me­tals, stor­ing mixed oily wastes con­tain­ing PCBs, acids, caus­tics, sol­vents and other po­ten­tially haz­ardous sub­stances.

In 1983, of­fi­cials with the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Toxic Sub­stances Con­trol dis­cov­ered the com­pany’s “poor work prac­tices re­sulted in re­leases of haz­ardous sub­stances.”

In its on­line folio about the site, the state agency noted: “Dur­ing the rainy sea­son, the con­tam­i­nated sur­face wa­ter runoff could po­ten­tially im­pact the Santa Clara River.”

Con­se­quently, they found nu­mer­ous vi­o­la­tions at the fa­cil­ity be­tween June 1983 and 1986. On March 16, 1987, of­fi­cials told the com­pany to clean up the site, is­su­ing an order called a re­me­dial ac­tion order.

The cleanup stalled. Eight months after hav­ing issued the order, Toxic Sub­stances Con­trol of­fi­cials issued a de­ter­mi­na­tion that the com­pany had not com­plied with the cleanup order. [email protected]­ 661-287-5527

On Twit­ter @jame­sarthurholt

“The well is per­ma­nently dam­aged and will be prop­erly aban­doned.” Russ Ed­mond­son, spokesman for the De­part­ment of Toxic Sub­stances Con­trol

Sig­nal file photo

Soil, air and wa­ter at the Lang Sta­tion must be retested this year, ac­cord­ing to a work order by the De­part­ment of Toxic Sub­stances Con­trol.

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