State extends cleanup at Lang Station by 18 months

A Metrolink train passes by the historical marker for Lang Southern Pacific Station in Canyon Country on Thursday, Feb. 24. Dan Watson/The Signal
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State officials have called for more cleanup of the contaminated land at Lang Station, a cost to the state of more than $200,000.

After more than a dozen years of extensive decontamination of soil, air and water, on land once owned by the Lubrication Company of America, officials with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control decided this past summer that more cleanup was needed.

Although engineers responsible for the cleanup recommended the state extend the cleanup for an additional six to nine months, state officials signed a contract authorizing the cleanup be continued until the end of next year.

Lang Station is a 64-acre site at 1250 Lang Station Road, east of State Route 14 off Soledad Canyon Road.

State officials monitoring the cleanup signed a contract in June with URS Corporation Americas – representing the Lubrication Company of America – to extend their ongoing cleanup of the site for an additional 18 months.

The original cleanup contract began Aug. 10, 2005, and ended this summer on June 30.

Harmful chemicals found in the ground, however, still need to be addressed, state officials told The Signal this past week.

“We have not achieved the cleanup goals we set,” Javier Hinojosa, contract manager for the DTSC, said Thursday.

“So we’re continuing our remediation and we’re continuing that remediation with the previous contractor,” he said, noting the extended cleanup hinges on removing harmful gases emitted from the contaminated soil.

The cost of extended cleanup would be reflected in the DTSC’s next fiscal year, Hinojosa said, an amount ultimately paid by Santa Clarita Valley taxpayers and taxpayers across the state.

More than $1.73 million has been paid out to an engineering firm over the past 12 years to clean up the site.  The call for an extended 18-month cleanup would cost about $204,952.

“In this case, the money will appear as additional money in our (DTSC) next fiscal year,” Hinojosa said.

The additional 18 months granted for the cleanup specifically addresses the need to treat and filter gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through a process referred to as soil vapor extraction, according to a copy of the contract obtained by The Signal.

Contaminants

Earlier this year, engineers who specialize in “restoring damaged environments” recommended to state environmental officials that cleanup of the toxic site at Lang Station be extended for another six to nine months after high levels of contaminants were found there last year.

URS engineers told officials with the California Department of Toxic Substances that further testing of both soil and water at the site were needed.

They made their recommendation in a report that was intended to be the final chapter in the site’s cleanup carried out over the last three decades.

But, instead of closing the book on cleanup and tests, further testing and “extraction” of contaminants was needed. And, instead of extending the contract by six to nine months as initially recommended, state officials committed to almost doubling the recommended cleanup time.

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

The recommendations would mean the continued removal of contaminated soil and vapor will last until at least the end of November 2018.

Volatile organic compounds

Volatile organic chemicals are commonly released through the breakdown of plastics.

In their latest report, engineers reported testing results for Lang Station show a drop in the organic chemical concentration in Lang Station’s soil and its soil gas compared to levels recorded in the past.

“Only two VOCs, trichloroethylene and naphthalene, exceeded their industrial regional screening levels in the soil,” their report concludes.

Cleanup efforts at Lang Station over the past 33 years have reduced concentration of these contaminants considerably and particularly in two areas that historically were its most tainted areas.

Nevertheless, more extraction of contaminants must be carried out if cleanup is to be done thoroughly, according to the URS engineers.

 

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