Miscellaneous Assessments Success Stories

Adopt-A-Lot: North Hills Community Space and Garden

Success Stacked

The vacant lot near the intersection of Tupper Street and Columbus Avenue in Council District 7 is part of the City of LA’s Adopt-A-Lot pilot program. The program works to transform vacant lots into green spaces in park-poor communities. The lot was “adopted” by Pacoima Beautiful for a period of up to twelve (12) months, with an option to become a permanent green space. The site underwent a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to identify potential hazardous contaminants in May 2019. The assessment found no environmental concerns at the site or surrounding areas and no further assessment was needed. The Citywide Brownfields Program, Councilwomen Monica Rodriguez and collaborative non-profit partners worked with the community to design and transform the vacant lot into an inspiring and functional green space. With input from a community vote on October 17, 2019, the lot was reimagined into a community gathering space. The Grand Opening of North Hills Community Space and Garden was celebrated on February 7, 2020. The completed transformation included several garden beds with seating, flexible play pieces for active recreation, seating benches with attached umbrellas, long picnic table with benches and open field to promote free play. The transformation of this vacant lot into a green space has many benefits including, increasing the quality of life through the promotion of physical fitness, social cohesion and mental health.


Alameda Street Widening

Alameda 800The Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) for this project were funded through the Citywide Brownfields Programs by the Wilmington and Pacoima Brownfields Assessment Grant from USEPA. Two Phase I ESAs were conducted in January 2014 along Alameda Street between Anaheim Street and Harry Bridges Blvd. The assessments counted historical oil wells that were advanced near enough to the alignment to result in potential environmental impairments. At least three sets of oil collection tanks were located sufficiently near the alignment to be considered recognized environmental conditions. Emissions or seeps resulting from incomplete abandonment are also known to occur at these types of former well locations. In addition, the earliest historical land use documentation from 1913 shows the presence of subsidiary rail lines, accompanied near Anaheim Street by a parallel main rail line. Potential contaminants of concern include crude oil and various types of refined petroleum products, metals from older drilling muds and oil field brines, and asbestos. The project proposed was to widen Alameda Street and provide additional northbound and southbound through-lanes, and to provide a northbound free right-turn lane from northbound Alameda Street to eastbound Anaheim Street. The strip of property was 30 feet wide and approximately 3,700 feet long. Based on the results of this Phase I ESA, additional soil, soil vapor and groundwater sampling was recommended along the alignment to verify the extent of known impacts. Widening Alameda St. between Anaheim St. and Harry Bridges improved traffic from 4 to 6 lanes, facilitating general goods movement within the community and Los Angeles basin and, more importantly, directly to the Port of Los Angeles.


Heart of Watts Community Garden

103rd Citywide Brownfield Program worked with Council District 15 to transform a vacant lot located at 2254 East 103rd Street into a community garden, known as Heart of Watts Community Garden. At the very early stages of this project, the Brownfields Program conducted environmental assessments that determined there were no contamination issues which would obstruct development of the site. The community garden includes raised beds where community members may grow various plants and vegetables as well as fruit and shade trees. The ground surface was covered with decomposed granite in the walking paths and mulch aisles surrounding the raised planting beds. Hearts of Watts Community Garden held its grand opening on November 5, 2016.


Humbodlt Greenway 

humbodlt beforeThis site was identified as part of the LA River USEPA Assessment Grant. 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.


humbodlt afterThe 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 LASAN. 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.


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.