Tuesday, November 16, 2010

AAEA Scopes Potential Brownfields Site in Watts

AAEA President Norris McDonald visited a toxic waste lot in Watts that could be a Brownfield redevelopment project. AAEA is examining the feasibility of having the site remediated and redeveloped as a retail facility.  McDonald visited the toxic lot with a local activist who prefers to remain anonymous on Saturday, November 13, 2010.

A health risk assessment, Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment and Phase II Site characterization Report have already been conducted for the site.  The site is located at the corner of 103rd Street and Wilmington Avenue and the Florenth Griffith School (formerly the 102nd Street School) is across the street from this abandoned waste lot.  The lot is covered with asphalt.

Though the gasoline tanks were removed in 1976, there was no soil cleanup.  The lot was later used for other commercial activities including a Church's Fried Chicken, which was constructed on the site in 1983. It was destroyed during the riots of 1992.  Most of the time since it became a gasoline station, the ground has been covered with asphalt or buildings.

Vapor samples revealed that total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) were found in the probes placed in areas near the petroleum underground storage tanks, the southern dispenser unit, and associated pipeline.  Soil borings revealed the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) [Dichloroethane, naphthalene and methylnaphthalene]. TPH was also detected in the soil borings.  Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes were found in soil samples.   The identifified chemicals are volatile (have a tendency to become a gas) and can rise through the soil column and be released to the air.

AAEA agrees with the conclusion of the California Department of Health Services Environmental Health Investigations Branch, that: "Before a structure is place on the former gasoline station property, there should be an evaluation of the potential build-up of the volatile organic chemicals from the subsurface soil."  AAEA recommends remediation of the site and for it to be redeveloped as a Brownfield site.

Source: California Department of Health Services Environmental Health Investigations Branch

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