Fort Bragg Considers Massive Cleanup Project

fortbraggcleanupOn July 9th, residents near Fort Bragg, California (not to be confused with the army installation in North Carolina) were able to review and comment on the soil and groundwater cleanup plan being proposed by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) at a town hall meeting. reports that the DTSC is making a series of sweeping proposals aimed at cleaning up 12 contaminated “areas of interest” at the former Georgia-Pacific Mill Site. Labeled as Operating Units C and D, the two main areas where the cleanup and disposal work will occur are 114 acres and 168 acres, respectively.

In at least five “areas of interest,” the cleanup project will involve excavating 1,100 to 1,900 cubic yards of soil in two separate phases.

“The first phase, implemented this year,” reads the DTSC’s plan summary, “will remove approximately 360 cubic yards of soil. The largest of the five excavations will remove between 750 to 1,500 cubic yards and will occur at a later date in coordination with future cleanups at the California Western Railroad.”

Ultimately, the effort, “depending on the amount of soil excavated…will take between 55 and 90 truckloads to remove all the contaminated soil from the site,” with the transportation set to occur between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m.

After the cleanup work is done, the land could be purchased and developed by commercial or industrial companies through land use covenants. Certain residential construction could be permitted, as well.

According the the plan summary, “Other uses [such as] mixed use residential may be acceptable if protective design elements like covers and barriers…are included in future construction.”

Areas of interest which underwent years’ worth of exposure to diesel and other fuels around the mill’s machine shop and fuel storage tank will undergo excavation and “soil vapor mitigation” under the plan.

At sites that saw longterm exposure to diesel and other fuels, mostly around the former mill’s machine shop and a fuel storage tank, DTSC is recommending excavation and “soil vapor mitigation,” which vents or blocks gasses being given off by contaminated soil. In addition, eight areas of interest will undergo “groundwater natural attenuation,” which, according to DTSC, is a technique that “uses naturally occurring processes such as the use of naturally occurring microbes to biodegrade contamination and to clean up groundwater.”

Finally, the proposal calls for adding gypsum, a soft sulfate mineral, to the soil around a former above ground storage tank in order “to speed up the degradation of petroleum in groundwater.”

Above ground storage tanks are commonly used for industrial applications. Among other requirements to ensure their safety, the tanks with capacities greater than 1,100 gallons must have corrosion protection on its floors.

Residents were allowed to express their opinions and concerns about the plan during the town hall meeting and will also be able to submit written statements to the DTSC through July 27th.