Chevron is proposing a new way to dispose of impacted soil from the old Guadalupe Oil Field, a site they have been cleaning up for more than two decades.
Since 2006, Chevron has removed nearly 70,000 truckloads of non-hazardous impacted soil and taken it to the Santa Maria Regional Landfill. However, instead of moving more piles to the landfill, Chevron is proposing to bury it on-site.
Site managers say there are about 1.2 million cubic yards, or another 70,000 truckloads, of non-hazardous hydrocarbon affected soil left to manage.
According to Chevron, it spends roughly $20-25 million a year on the remediation efforts which it says will take another 30 years to complete.
In 2005, Chevron bought the Union Oil Company of California (Unocal), the oil company responsible for the oil leakage, and has been restoring the area since.
Unocal operated the production facility from 1949 to the early 90s.
During that time, nearly 20 million gallons of diluent, a harmful oil-thinning substance, leaked into the dunes, beach, groundwater and ocean.
Fast forward nearly two decades and Chevron has already restored a number of habitats and dunes on the 2,800 acre site.
Project workers hope to bring that success to the proposed Soil Management Area (SMA).
"It would manage the soil on-site in that location in an engineered liner system and it would compile them into one location and cap them," said Danielle Wold, the Chevron Guadalupe Restoration Project Manager. "Doing this would reduce truck trips by about 70,000 trips on the road which results in about 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions."
Wold said on-site construction, household or other waste would not be placed in the SMA, only non-hazardous impacted soil.
According to Chevron, the SMA would include a double liner system to prevent further seepage. The proposal also includes adding a 4-foot cap made of clean sand and native plants to protect burrowing animals and wind erosion.
Project documents show the proposed SMA location is within a previously impacted oil production area.
Chevron says the on-site landfill would cover about 18.2 acres, less than 1% of the total property.
Project managers are concerned about traffic and safety issues, road wear-and-tear and air pollution if they continue transporting the soil. They say, so far there have been no reports of accidents or collisions with their transport trucks.
The South County Advisory Council will take a look at this project proposal October 23rd.