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In June 2017, both the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) reviewed and approved the Remedial Action Completion Report (RACR) for the former Hercules Gas Plant. Their approval signifies that the cleanup actions of environmental impacts at the site were completed in accordance with methods as approved by both agencies.
The Interagency Workgroup Team (IWT) also reviewed and commented on the RACR. The IWT is comprised of representatives from the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the County of Santa Barbara Planning and Development Department and Environmental Health Services, and DTSC. USEPA is the lead agency for the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) cleanup. DTSC is the lead agency for the remaining chemicals of concern.
On August 8, 2017, P&D received an application submittal for a Substantial Conformity Determination to Demolition and Reclamation Permit (Case No. 15DRP-00000-00001) and the associated Coastal Development Permit (Case No. 15CDP-00000-00036) to allow the removal of an existing fire protection water line no longer in use that spans from the site (AP No. 081-150-041) onto the adjacent Tajiguas Landfill parcel (AP No. 081-150-042) and re-establishment of drainage on a historic road cut that experienced erosion over the previous rainy season.
Field work is scheduled to continue to complete additional removal of remaining infrastructure and restoration maintenance activities.
The Hercules Gas Processing Plant was constructed in 1963 on a two-acre fill pad and processed natural gas produced from offshore wells between 1963 and 1989. Between 1994 and 1996, the plant was decommissioned and all but a few minor above-ground structures and equipment were removed, i.e. electrical disconnects providing power to a temporary construction trailer and a water supply well. Investigation and remediation efforts at the site began in 1986 and remediation on the Fill Pad, the Fill Pad slope face, and nearby areas has continued under a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) that was finalized in 1994. The County of Santa Barbara issued a special use permit (94-SUP-051) in 1996 for re-contouring and re-vegetation of the site. Grading and erosion control measures were undertaken in 2004 under an Emergency Permit and in 2005 under a Coastal Development Permit (04CDH-00000-00035) to improve drainage, prevent erosion of the Fill Pad and Fill Pad slope face, and reduce the potential for movement of impacted sediments to surface waters and eventually the ocean. In 2009, a Coastal Development Permit (09CDH-00000-00002) was issued for remediation and stabilization of the fill pad slope face, which was completed in October 2011. The project is the final stage of restoration and remediation at the site, and is being conducted under the authority of the USEPA.
The USEPA issued an approval letter for the project Clean Up Plan (CUP) on February 16, 2016. The County Zoning Administrator approved Demolition and Reclamation Permit (15DRP-00000-00001) and the associated Coastal Development Permit (15CDP-00000-00036) on March 21, 2016. Demolition and Reclamation of the site began in May of 2016 and represents the final stage of restoration and remediation at the site. The purpose of the work is to remove the fill pad and defined areas with remaining impacted soils, reduce erosion, and minimize downstream transport of any residually remaining, historically impacted sediment. Soils containing elevated concentrations of PCBs were removed and disposed of at approved off-site waste disposal facilities. Soils with lower levels of PCBs were managed in-place, using soil and erosion control best management practices, including applying appropriately approved and designed volumes of clean soil cover. Following the removal of PCB-impacted soils, the site was re-graded to resemble the current natural conditions observed in similar canyons in the area. Grading of the site included the removal of the Fill Pad, which consisted of fill material up to 45 feet deep, placed during the original construction of the Gas Plant. The property is a 69.2-acre parcel zoned AG-II-320 and shown as Assessorís Parcel Number 081-150-041, located at 14730 Calle Real Road, in the Gaviota area, 3rd Supervisorial District.
The former Hercules Gas Plant is located along the Gaviota Coast on the north side of Highway 101 and directly to the west of the Tajiguas Landfill.