On Thursday, Sept. 13, county health officials will update Seal Beach residents on the decontamination project at the site of the former ARCO station on Pacific Coast Highway. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Seal Beach City Council Chambers.
The soil in the area near 490 Pacific Coast Highway was contaminated as a result of at least two leaks from underground storage tanks in the 1980s.
In mid-2009, it became public knowledge that the soil in the nearby Bridgeport neighborhood near the gas station had been contaminated with gasoline vapors.
In December 2009, county health officials evacuated four homes located near the gas station.
At the time, residents of the 25 homes near the gas station were worried about exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. Some residents of the other homes in the 175-house neighborhood publicly expressed concern about the potential reduction of their property values as a result of being located near a toxic site.
Initially, ARCO proposed using chemicals and, later, electricity to remove toxic chemicals from the property. Bridgeport residents, however, called for excavation—digging out and hauling away contaminated soil and ground water. The Seal Beach City Council also called for the “dig and haul” option. The county Health Care Agency agreed with Bridgeport residents and Seal Beach officials.
The California Coastal Commission approved Atlantic Richfield Company/BP America’s plan to decontaminate the site in March 2011.
The ARCO gas station that once stood at 490 PCH was demolished. The gas station was until that time one of the city’s top 25 sales tax revenue generators. It is not known if ARCO will rebuild the gas station once decontamination is finished.
ARCO has agreed to reimburse the city for all costs related to the decontamination project.