Re-zoning prompts report for Lang site contaminants

Signal File Photo: A Metrolink train passes by the historical marker for Lang Southern Pacific Station in Canyon Country on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2017.
Signal File Photo: A Metrolink train passes by the historical marker for Lang Southern Pacific Station in Canyon Country on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2017. Dan Watson/The Signal
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State officials ordered a comprehensive report on the cleanup status of the Lang Station site, which has been re-zoned to allow for home construction, after getting a warning about the health implications of building on the contaminated site.

Cleanup engineers with URS Corporation Americas – representing the Lubrication Company of America which operated on the site for years – told state officials in April that further cleanup might be needed if developers were to remove asphalt that now serves to “cap” the contaminated site.

The Lang Station site, a 64-acre site at 1250 Lang Station Road, east of Highway 14, off Soledad Canyon Road, has seen the continual cleanup of soil, groundwater and gases for the last 12 years.

While the property was re-zoned back in 2012, the property owners notified DTSC in early 2016, “that land use in the area of the LUBCO (Lubrication Company of America) Site had been  rezoned from commercial/industrial to heavy agriculture,” the URS report reads.

“This  rezoning changes the permitted uses of the LUBCO site and surrounding properties allowing a number of new uses, including single-family residences, small child care homes, farmworker dwelling units, community gardens, green houses, crops, livestock and animal shelters among others,” the report writers stated.

Officials with the Department of Toxic Substances Control who have monitored the cleanup since 2005 have called for a Lang Station “site characterization report” be submitted to them by mid-April 2018.

Such a report “will provide data on what is on the site. A report on what is there,” DTSC spokesman Russ Edmondson explained to The Signal, “So it’s a site assessment report that evaluates current soil and groundwater conditions of the site.”

As recently as September, those responsible for the cleanup noted that harmful chemicals found in the ground caused a $200,000 extension (in state costs alone) to the cleanup efforts.

But if the land is developed, which it’s zoned for, then digging up asphalt currently on the site, for example, could warrant a more extensive cleanup, the URS cleanup crew noted.

“The site would have to be remediated based on future residential land use,” URS cleanup engineers told state officials in their report.

“The asphalt cap controls exposure to all Site COCs including TPH, VOCs, PAHs, PCBs and metals,” engineers said in their report, referring chemicals called “constituents of concern” such as trichloroethylene.

“If future redevelopment is considered which requires cap removal and disturbing the subsurface, further remediation activities will need to meet residential cleanup  goals,” they advised.

In summing up their concerns over re-zoning implications, they concluded in their report that more cleanup work, referred to as remediation, might be required if future development means removing the asphalt “cap.”

Specifically, they told DTSC: “A  human  health  and  ecological  risk evaluation  may  be  required  to  establish  risk-based  residential  cleanup  goals  that  may  trigger additional remediation if future Site redevelopment that requires removing the cap and disturbing the subsurface is considered.”

The report ordered by the DTSC is due April 19, 2018.

Mitch Glaser, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, said the county also has concerns about health safety when it comes to Lang Station.


“The property was rezoned from M-1.5 (Restricted Heavy Manufacturing) to A-2 (Heavy Agricultural) as part of the “One Valley One Vision” Santa Clarita Valley Area Plan Update,” Glaser told The Signal Monday, noting it was officially adopted by the Board of Supervisors on November 27, 2012.

“The Department of Regional Planning agrees that all health concerns must be addressed before any development occurs on the property.

“If the property owner proposes a residential development at some point in the future, we would work with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to make sure any necessary human health and risk evaluations, and any additional site remediation, are completed.

“The property owner did not request the zone change,” Glaser said.

“County staff recommended the zone change, following consultation with City staff, because we felt this was not an appropriate location for industrial development,” he said. “The factors we considered included the lack of direct access to a major roadway and the property’s proximity to the National Forest and the Santa Clara River. The Area Plan does not allow intense residential development on this property either. The maximum density for the property is 1 dwelling unit per 10 acres.”

Extended cleanup

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.

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.

“We have not achieved the cleanup goals we set,” Javier Hinojosa, contract manager for the DTSC, told The Signal in September.


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