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Area-Wide Site Assessment Success Stories

Los Angeles River Brownfields Assessment Grant

success stories 7 rotatedFunds provided by United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) allowed the LASAN Citywide Brownfields Program to complete an inventory of community-wide screening assessments for 80+ sites along the Los Angeles River, and to perform Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) on selected sites as a part of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan. The project has identified potential brownfields development sites with redevelopment potential in the vicinity of the Los Angeles River/Cornfields Park area. The project was created in support of the Cornfields/Arroyo Seco Specific Plan conducted by the Planning Department.

The L.A. River Brownfields Assessment Grant was responsible for identifying and initiating work on a variety of smaller parcel-specific projects. These smaller sites were prioritized as part of the Los Angeles River Brownfields Assessments, with the USEPA grant allowing the preliminary assessment of these sites as a group to determine which individual sites warranted further attention.

With input from the local Council Offices, other City Departments and community groups, parcels were chosen to receive funding under the LA River USEPA Assessment Grant for conducting Phase I and Phase II ESAs.



Humboldt Greenway

success stories 8_400 This site was identified as part of the LA River USEPA Assessment Grant. In April 2012, a Phase II ESA was conducted for the property located at 216 N Avenue 18, in an old industrial area.

After the on-site railroad spur (running down the center of the parcel) was abandoned, the area was used for storage of railroad equipment and supplies belonging to the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR). Previous geotechnical investigations detected the presence of railroad ballast, and possibly railroad tracks and ties at the site.

Based on sampling performed during a geotechnical investigation in 2003 and the Phase II ESA conducted in 2012 at the property, this site did not appear to be a serious environmental hazard. The LA County Fire Department (LACFD), the oversight agency for this project, issued a closure letter in November 2012 declaring the site ready for a new use.

Construction of the Humboldt River Greenway Project started in late 2012, using funds provided by the Bureau of Sanitation. A redevelopment project was established to take runoff from a 135-acre sub watershed through a storm drain beneath Humboldt Street, and allow stormwater to run through landscape features that will clean it of oils, bacteria, trash and other pollutants before flowing out to the Los Angeles River.

The storm water elements are complemented by native vegetation, trees, and an irrigation system. Recreational features such as solar lights, pedestrian bridges, drinking fountains, and a bike stop were also added. The project was completed in 2013.

success stories 9_400



Van Nuys Site

success stories 16This site was identified as part of the LA River USEPA Assessment Grant. The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was conducted in May 2013 at the site located at 14094 Van Nuys Blvd. The property is currently unoccupied, vacant land covered with vegetation, situated in a methane zone.

According to property records, the site was possibly leased for oil and gas activity in 1975. However, there are no records indicating that oil or gas exploration occurred on the site. From at least 1962 through 1985, the site is listed as residential property.

As there was no evidence or records of use, storage and disposal of aboveground or underground storage tanks, hazardous waste, substances and petroleum products at the site, or any indications of releases, such as odors, stressed vegetation, leaks, pools of liquids, or spills, further investigation was not recommended for the site.

The site was referred to the City Council for community garden development.



Pasadena Site

This site was identified as part of the LA River USEPA Assessment Grant. In May 2013, a Phase I ESA was conducted for the site located at 1831 Pasadena Avenue. During the site reconnaissance, activities with suspected uses and possible releases of hazardous substances, such as a lumber yard and automotive wrecking, and two gasoline USTs were identified on the property. In addition, there were several 5-gallon buckets of paint, pallets of thermal plastic and propane tanks, and twelve 55-gallon drums of used paint sludge on the site.

At the time of the soil investigation (1992), there was no leaking reported and only one soils sample containing petroleum hydrocarbons, likely due to “weathered gasoline” resulting from an older spill or release that has remained in the ground for a period of years.

In 1999, the 8,000 and 10,000-gallon gasoline USTs were removed from the site and soil samples were collected for volatile organic compounds and lead analysis. The results did not detect concentrations of these compounds above the LA County FD action levels.

Before future redevelopment of the site, further investigations will be needed in the lumber yard, in the automotive wrecking, in the storage building containing several 5-gallon buckets of paint, and in the storage area containing pallets of thermal plastic and propane tanks.



Temple Site

success stories 15This site was identified as part of the LA River USEPA Assessment Grant. In September 2013, a Phase II ESA was conducted for the site located at 1500-1513 W Temple Street, in order to evaluate the extent of petroleum impact and the presence and condition of Underground Storage Tanks (USTs).

Based on information obtained for the Phase II ESA, the USTs have been removed and the sources of any potential impacts at the site have been eliminated. The hydrocarbon concentrations are limited and contained at the site. Nevertheless, LA County FD has issued a letter advising remediation actions for a new development on the site, such as removal and disposal at an approved facility of the contaminated soil with hydrocarbon lead, as well an evaluation and development of mitigation measures regarding the naphthalene vapors in the subsurface soil.



6th Street Bridge Project

success stories 10_400As part of the new design of the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project and the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, possible contamination from sites adjacent to the bridge needed to be investigated, due to the fact that the area has been used for industrial purposes since before World War II.

In October 2013, a Phase I ESA was conducted on 2 sites next to the 6th Street Bridge. Site 1 was located west of the LA River, on the Arts District side, and Site 2 was located east of the LA River, on the Boyle Heights side. Both properties are situated in a methane zone, as is most of downtown Los Angeles.

According to the Phase I ESA, both sites required further investigation due to the suspected presence of railroad-related chemicals in shallow site soils and to the operation of adjacent railroad tracks, as well as the suspected manipulation of hazardous substances on properties adjacent to Site 1 West.

The final design for the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project includes recreational and pedestrian-friendly uses on and under both sides of the new bridge. For current information and updates about this project, go to http://www.sixthstreetviaduct.org



710 Corridor Initiative:

success stories 12_400This project is a multi-agency partnership aimed at improving the environment and economic conditions of low-income and minority communities along the I-710 transit corridor. The project is offering assistance to owners or operators of leaking underground tanks who have failed to comply with requirements that the tanks be removed and contamination remediated. The project is funded by the California Water Resources Control Board in partnership with the USEPA and local agencies. Within the Los Angeles portion of the Corridor the City of Los Angeles Brownfields Program is contacting owners of properties to make them aware of the funding programs that are available to assist in covering the costs of removing underground tanks as well as assessing and remediating contamination from petroleum products that were in the tanks.

The Partnership created an inventory of abandoned gas station sites within the I-710 Corridor that were vacant or had limited uses. Many sites required further environmental assessment including tank removal or cleanup activities that could be conducted. Several sites were selected in the City of Los Angeles based on the Brownfields Program recommendations. EPA’s Targeted Brownfields Assessment (TBA) Program and other federal funds were used to complete site assessments including tank removals. In addition to paving the road toward clean-up and redevelopment, I-710 Project’s effort helped identify potential threats to human health in the communities.



These sites, identified and funded under the I-710 Corridor Initiative, are discussed further in the “Former Gas Stations” section:

1277 W Vernon Ave - Ortiz Jr Auto Repair
5700 S Western Ave - Vacant Building
6121 S Vermont Ave - Former Target Service Station
6600 S Broadway - Wayne Garage