Prospective buyer of contaminated Lang Station calls site ‘extremely clean’

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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Businessman Louis McCutcheon, who wants to buy the Lang Station property — the contaminated site owned by the Lubrication Company of America — found the site to be “extremely clean” after he paid for his own soil and water testing.

McCutcheon, reached by phone at his office in Moorpark on Tuesday, said he had drilling done on the site late last month to collect soil and water samples, all with the ultimate goal of purchasing the property.

“We were pleasantly surprised to learn it was as clean as it was,” he said, reflecting on the environmental test results.

McCutcheon, who described himself as a “small-business owner,” was hesitant to give too many details about his intended use for the land, as it’s part of a pending transaction. He said he’s been working with the state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control and with local water officials in his efforts to buy the site.

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

About 33 years ago, officials with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control learned of hazardous chemicals contaminating the Santa Clara River at the Lubrication Company of America site, at Lang Station.

McCutcheon spent about $100,000 for the environmental testing, he said, even though state officials increased funding for the cleanup last year from $450,000 to $2.1 million.

McCutcheon wouldn’t go into specifics as to why he felt the additional testing was necessary.

DTSC officials called for further cleanup and testing last year after finding residual chemicals and harmful volatile organic compounds still on the site. They are expecting a cleanup report April 19.

On Tuesday, DTSC spokesman Russ Edmonson described the anticipated report as something that would “help us determine how much more treatment is necessary.”

State testing of the contaminated site differs from testing done independently, Edmonson said.

“We met with the prospective purchaser (McCutcheon) and told them about our plans, but they are only doing some limited due diligence sampling for their purposes and we have different data quality objectives,” he told The Signal Tuesday.

“Please note that we are not engaged in any formal oversight agreements with them,” Edmonson said. “If they eventually take on the site they would have to take over the outstanding remediation and long-term stewardship.”

The  drilling and sampling work McCutcheon paid to have done was carried out from Feb. 26-28.

He wanted to find out:

  • the nature and extent of contaminated groundwater moving off the site.
  • if past operations at the site contributed to the contamination of groundwater
  • if more work is needed to protect groundwater moving into lower areas.
  • If “shallow soil” was impacted by past work carried out by the Lubrication Company of America.

Asked, since the site was re-zoned in 2012, if he planned to build homes there, McCutcheon said: “Absolutely not — no homes, no agriculture.”

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