Dave E. here. Last week’s Highlands’ Guy’s Thursday column triggered a reader comment which triggered more research by our favorite every Thursday columnist. HG raises some serious concerns.
(Los Alamitos, 1/24/2012, by Highlands’ Guy:) In last week’s piece I made note of the cordoned off corner in front of LAHS.
The comments by one of the Let’s Fix Los Al reader’s peaked my curiosity. He talked about the “presumed” underground contamination at this site as well as others around our city and questioned how it got there.
If there was ever a local situation that begged to be vetted, this sure seemed to be a strong candidate. After all, we’re not talking about political shenanigans or the cost of a few Christmas decorations. We’re talking about stuff that could have consequences to our children.
A responsive government agency!
My first step was with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I was surprised, and impressed, with the response turn-around time. The Agency rep in Washington D.C. got back to me within 3 hours. Not sure if it was a canned reply, but it was clear and concise. I received another reply, again, within a few hours, from the local (San Francisco) EPA, Region 9 Librarian. She referred me to two websites along with specifics on how to maneuver for local details. Easy enough so far.
Lots of “Open” Cleanup Sites in Los Al!
This led to a State of California database called Geotracker. From there one can get to local, Los Alamitos, cleanup sites and some historical data about each one. Getting here is easy. The harder components are how to determine exactly what the data means, the current status, and the next step(s) to be taken. It seems there are 94, active and inactive, sites within our borders. A whole lot more than I expected to see. Here’s a link to the site.
Some of the more interesting “open” sites:
|SITE NAME||CLEANUP STATUS||ADDRESS|
|BEST CLEANERS||OPEN – REMEDIATION||11139 LOS ALAMITOS BLVD.|
|BIXBY LAND CO||OPEN – REMEDIATION||3502 CERRITOS|
|CHEVRON #20-6285||OPEN – REMEDIATION||10471 LOS ALAMITOS|
|EL DORADO CLEANER||OPEN – VERIFICATION MONITORING||8171 WARDLOW|
|EL DORADO CLEANERS||HISTORICAL – WDR||8171 WARDLOW ROAD|
|MOBIL #18-GN1||OPEN – REMEDIATION||8090 WARDLOW RD. E.|
|MOBIL #18-GQ0||OPEN – REMEDIATION||3971 CERRITOS|
|ROSSMOOR CAR WASH||OPEN – REMEDIATION||11031 LOS ALAMITOS|
|SAFETY-KLEEN CORPORATION||OPEN – SITE ASSESSMENT||3876 FLORISTA ST|
|SHELL OIL||OPEN – VERIFICATION MONITORING||4001 BALL|
|SHELL OIL||OPEN – SITE ASSESSMENT||10961 LOS ALAMITOS|
|TEXACO||OPEN – VERIFICATION MONITORING||11250 LOS ALAMITOS|
|TEXACO||OPEN – VERIFICATION MONITORING||3311 KATELLA|
|TOSCO – 76 #5511||OPEN – SITE ASSESSMENT||5100 KATELLA|
|TOSCO – 76 #5792||OPEN – REMEDIATION||4002 BALL|
|UNOCAL #4686 (AKA TOSCO/76)||OPEN – REMEDIATION||12071 SEAL BEACH|
|UNOCAL #4727||OPEN – SITE ASSESSMENT||3501 CERRITOS|
Note: I left off a number of contaminated sites within the Joint Forces Training Base. But please note these too, could pose a threat to the Base’s closest neighbors.
I plan to spend more time looking into the data, but my take away so far is that now I have more questions than answers. Among those that come quickly to mind are:
- Exactly what kinds of chemicals are being investigated?
- How long is the process and how will we know when it is completed?
- Who is footing the bill?
- How far have the chemicals migrated?
- What are the known effects to the ground under our schools?
Additionally, what stood out glaringly was the case opening dates for some of the sites that have not be remediated. Examples include, 3502 Cerritos, opened in May, 2003; 3971 Cerritos, opened November, 2001; 3876 Florista, opened April, 1991. Would sure like someone to double check my preliminary investigation. Although I’ve just copied the numbers from the government website, I’m not sure exactly what it all means.
Maybe a more thorough look by city staff is warranted. And I would sure feel better if a city initiated report clearly stated that every resident, and especially every student, has nothing to be worried about.
Secondarily, it seems like no one, Feds, State, County, City, or owners are admitting guilt or at least, keeping us informed about the progress (or not) of the open projects.
“The public interest requires doing today those things that men of intelligence and good will would wish, five or ten years hence, had been done.”
~ Edmund Burke (born: 1729-01-12 – 1797-07-09). Irish statesman, author, orator, philosopher.
…And that’s just the way I see it.
As always, your comments, perspective, and additional info is welcome!