The revised plan for cleaning up the soil near the Seal Beach ARCO station in the Bridgeport neighborhood is due June 19, according to Larry Honeybourne of the Orange County Health Care Agency.
In related news, B.V. Castillo, director of Government and Public Affairs for BP America, said the company had heard “loud and clear” Bridgeport residents’ support for “digging and hauling” contaminated soil from the site.
However, some Bridgeport residents weren’t so sure ARCO/BP America was listening following the Wednesday, May 26 meeting between residents, ARCO/BP representatives, Seal Beach and county health officials.
According to City Engineer Michael Ho, ARCO’s La Palma Environmental Business Manager Darrell Fah mentioned “electronic resistance heating” among several alternatives for cleaning up the site.
Electrical resistance heating apparently uses electricity to clean contaminated soil and ground water by heating the soil and water until the pollutants are removed.
“This design was patented in 1976 by Bill Pritchett of ARCO. The patent has expired and is now available for public use,” according to Wikipedia.
“It’s a method I’m not aware of,” said City Engineer Ho.
Honneybourne said electrical resistance heating was just one alternative discussed during the meeting. He said there was no proposal before the OC Health Care Agency to use electrical resistance heating to decontaminate Pacific Coast Highway ARCO site.
Anthony Martinez, a senior engineering geologist for the health agency, said Fah summarized the work done on the site. He said Fah mentioned ARCO was looking at several alternatives.
However, some Bridgeport residents seemed to feel ARCO/BP has pointed out at previous meetings that the soil and ground water in the neighborhood has been contaminated by at least two underground tank leaks since the 1980s.
“Arco discussed dig and haul as a viable option, but would not commit to it as the centerpiece of their remediation planning,” said Dr. Robert Goldberg, a Bridgeport resident, in an e-mail to the Sun Newspapers.
“Their consulting firm, Stantec, provided them with cover by introducing a completely new alternative method, ‘electrical resistance heating,’” he said.
“The audience left quite disappointed,” he said.
Yet health official Honeybourne said electrical resistance heating was something that was only brought up in passing.
The Sun Newspapers left a voice message with Fah to find out what he did or did not say. Castillo, BP America’s local spokesperson, returned the call.
Castillo confirmed that Fah did mention electrical resistance heating as one of the alternatives for decontaminating the Bridgeport site. However, she said he also discussed the logistical issues related to the “dig and haul” option that has been supported by Bridgeport residents, the local Technical Advisory Committee, the Seal Beach City Council and the OC Health Care Agnecy.
Castillo said BP America officials were aware of the fact that residents want the site cleaned up as quickly as possible and that they definitely prefer dig and haul.
“We heard them loud and clear,” she said.
The Pacific Coast Highway gas station is an Atlantic Richfield Company station. ARCO is part of BP America, Inc., which is part of BP Global.
BP Global is currently attempting to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.