County OKs underground storage tank cleanup agreement

By Joe Naiman

San Diego County Board of Supervisors recently approve a revenue agreement with the California Water Resources Control Board to monitor and clean up leaking underground storage tanks.

The county will receive $2.2 million from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013. The county’s Department of Environmental Health will be in charge of the cleanup and monitoring efforts.

Since the program began in 1991, more than 3,200 cases have been opened and more than 2,600 of those cases have been resolved, according to a county report. There are 525 active cases in San Diego County, including 12 in Ramona.

The average time for resolving cases involving soil contamination is three years, although cases that involve groundwater contamination are more complicated and usually take longer to resolve, according to the county.

The Department of Environmental Health uses a risk-based approach to case management and closure, which is driven by site-specific conditions. Factors include geology, groundwater depth, and the mass of the contamination. The contaminant source and pathway are assessed, managed, and reduced to ensure that cases are not closed until there are no remaining adverse impacts to beneficial uses of groundwater and no remaining unacceptable risks to the public.

DEH works with stakeholders to resolve any issues associated with the cleanup of contaminated sites. Stakeholders include tank owners and operators, consultants, and land owners.

DEH works with the responsible party and that party’s consultant to investigate and clean up the contamination or to demonstrate that the level of remaining contamination does not pose a human health risk or an environmental threat.

   
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