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Update Archive

Leslie’s May 2017 Update

As I’ve shared previously, multiple years of drought conditions caused groundwater levels to decline below the zone affected by petroleum hydrocarbons. This has allowed us to increase extraction of petroleum hydrocarbons from the unsaturated sediments with the remediation system. This past winter’s rains brought some groundwater level recovery compared to 2016. Groundwater is currently about 80 feet below the ground surface within the southern plume area.

In June, we will be replacing part of the cleanup equipment with a more energy efficient incinerator that does not need propane fuel to operate. The new incinerator will be an all-electric oxidizer that uses a catalyst similar to a catalytic converter on most automobiles.  With the equipment replacement, the propane fuel tank will be removed.

For the latest information on the solar energy facility planned for the former Texaco site, check out the What’s Planned section of our website.

PCPL Fillmore SVE Compound
PCPL Fillmore SVE Compound

Leslie’s March 2017 Update

We continue to make good progress on groundwater cleanup. The air sparging and soil vapor extraction system is effectively removing underground petroleum hydrocarbons and staff are onsite weekly to assure that the system operates properly. The groundwater level is currently more than 90 feet below the ground surface within the southern plume area. We expect this winter’s rains to bring some water level recovery, but it may likely take multiple wet winters for groundwater to return to pre-drought conditions. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to extract petroleum hydrocarbons from the unsaturated sediments.

EPA completed its Five-Year Review this year, concluding that the PCPL site remedy is functioning as intended and protective of human health and the environment. Click here to read the report on EPA’s website, Fourth Five-Year Review Report. EPA also posted its Soil Remedial Action Report for the PCPL site.

More good news to share … within the last several months, the PCPL site became eligible for partial removal from the Superfund list for surface soils because all cleanup actions for soil are completed and validated by the EPA. There is strong precedent for partial deletion of surface soils for Superfund sites that also have ongoing groundwater cleanup, because groundwater cleanup typically takes many years. EPA established the Partial Deletion Rule in 1995, to allow portions of Superfund sites that have met cleanup goals to be “de-listed”, because they recognize that waiting until the entire site is eligible for delisting can be a barrier to productive uses that benefit communities because of the “stigma” associated with Superfund sites. It’s important to note that the partial deletion for surface soils would not change the deed restrictions, ongoing groundwater cleanup effort, nor the long-term monitoring requirements for the property. EPA will continue to oversee and inspect the PCPL site in perpetuity.

As for the status of the solar energy facility planned for the PCPL site, Cenergy Power is finalizing its operating agreements and an application to Southern California Edison is in progress. Cenergy tells us that they hope to begin construction within a few months and have the facility completed by the end of this year.

Wildflowers blooming at the Fillmore Works site in March 2017
Wildflowers blooming at the Fillmore Works site in March 2017

Leslie’s October 2016 Update

Groundwater cleanup is progressing. The continued decline in groundwater levels due to drought conditions has enabled us to increase extraction of petroleum hydrocarbons from underground soil gas. To date, we’ve removed 34 pounds of benzene. If you picture three and half 10-pound bags of sugar at the grocery store, that’s about the quantity of benzene removed by the remediation system.

EPA completed its Five-Year Review this year, concluding that the PCPL site remedy is functioning as intended and protective of human health and the environment. Click here to read the report on EPA’s website, Fourth Five-Year Review Report. EPA also posted its Soil Remedial Action Report for the PCPL site.

In the coming months, I look forward to watching construction of the solar energy facility. Read more about Cenergy Power on our What’s Planned web page.

Leslie’s May 2016 Update

As the Chevron environmental project manager for the Fillmore Works site, it’s been my responsibility over the last several years to revitalize the land for beneficial reuse.  On May 5, 2016, the Ventura County Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit to construct a solar energy facility on the property.  I’d like to reflect for a moment on the significance of the site’s history.  The solar farm will be located on the former Texaco Fillmore Works Refinery, started in 1915 by Ventura Refining Company and acquired by Texaco in 1928. In its prime, the Fillmore Works refinery employed up to 200 people from the local community. During World War II, the refinery supported the immense wartime demand for fuel products that were shipped from Port Hueneme to the Pacific Theater.  After the war, refining operations ended and Texaco continued to operate the site for about 50 years as the Pacific Coast Pipeline crude oil storage and transfer station.  Chevron completed restoration of the property in 2014 to make way for the next chapter for the site.

We are excited that the Fillmore Works site is making history again with a renewable energy project. The site continues to be part of the local Fillmore landscape and shares much of the community’s rich heritage.

 

Leslie’s February 2016 update

We are in our 9th month of operation of the groundwater remediation system and groundwater cleanup continues to proceed very well. We increased air injection and vapor extraction to take advantage of lower groundwater levels caused by the drought. Temporary equipment for an interim phase of the project was installed on Texaco property at the east end of Main Street. The equipment operated for 4 months as planned and has since been removed. In February, we began installing a second phase of the groundwater remediation system, which should be operational in early March (click to read EPA’s notice). This phase will allow us to continue our plan to accelerate vapor extraction while groundwater levels remain low. The work includes construction of two conduits across Pole Creek channel, permitted and inspected by Ventura County Watershed Protection District.

Earlier this month, US EPA conducted a robust inspection of the PCPL site for its Five Year Review, which is a routine requirement for Superfund sites. These reviews evaluate cleanup progress and determine whether the remedies are functioning as intended and are protective of human health and the environment. The PCPL Five Year Review is being prepared by the US Army Corp of Engineers and the report will be issued by US EPA later this year and posted on EPA’s website.

 

Leslie’s October 2015 update

Operation of the groundwater remediation system is going well. The target zone for cleanup is dry due to drought conditions, and this makes the cleanup technology more effective. In turn, we are able to speed up groundwater cleanup by increasing vacuum extraction of soil vapor from this subsurface zone. To accomplish this extraction before expected winter rains raise groundwater levels, we installed temporary vacuum extraction and treatment equipment in October on Texaco property at the east end of Main Street (click to read EPA’s notice). This equipment will operate for about 4 months.

Leslie’s September 2015 update

Chevron releases Groundwater Treatment System video. Watch here.

Leslie’s July 2015 update

We are writing to provide you with an update on the plans for the Pacific Coast Pipeline PCPL) site, also known as Fillmore Works. Chevron has evaluated various commercial uses for the site over the last few years. Both commercial development and/or solar energy have been evaluated and they were discussed at the “Notice of Preparation” public meeting held as part of the environmental review process in November 2014.

Since that time, Chevron has undertaken more detailed evaluation of a commercial solar array at the PCPL/Fillmore Works site. It now appears a solar project may be a feasible alternative for the site and is an allowable use within existing County zoning for the property thus we will be actively pursuing this solar alternative. The feasibility of a solar project depends on Chevron’s ability to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from Ventura County. It also depends on the ability of a third party solar company to obtain a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an energy provider and obtain an interconnection agreement with Southern California Edison.

We are pleased to announce that Chevron has entered into a lease agreement with Stion, a California-based solar company (www.stion.com). Stion will pursue the PPA and Interconnection as well as design and construction of the solar project. If the project proceeds, it will be the first commercial solar installation in Ventura County.

While Stion works toward the implementation of the commercial solar project, we are placing our development application with the City of Fillmore on hold. If the solar project does not proceed, Chevron will evaluate the situation and may reinitiate the development application within the City at a later date.

Chevron appreciates the community feedback that helped in selection of the solar option. We will continue to provide you with updates as we confirm the details of the project. There will be additional opportunity for community feedback as part of the County CUP approval process.

If you have questions, please contact Chevron at pcplsite@nullchevron.com, or call Bill at 805-546-6970 or Leslie at 661-412-6351.

Leslie Klinchuch, Environmental Project Manager

Bill Almas, Land Development Manager

Leslie’s June 2015 update

The groundwater remediation system is now operating. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Fact Sheet about the groundwater system, which employs air sparging and soil vapor extraction. EPA inspected the groundwater equipment on June 9, 2015 and authorized startup of the system. EPA mailed a bilingual notice to neighbors, school, and city officials after operation began. The system is monitored.

Download the EPA’s notice regarding the groundwater system here.

On June 9, 2015, US EPA inspected the groundwater system and authorized startup.

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Leslie’s February 2015 update

Construction of the groundwater air sparging system is nearly completed. We are awaiting the installation of electrical service to power the equipment. The US Environmental Protection Agency mailed a bilingual Fact Sheet to neighbors, school, and city officials about the groundwater remediation system. The Fact Sheet is also posted on EPA’s website. We expect to begin operating the groundwater system in early 2015 after final agency inspections and approval to proceed. The community will be notified once the system is in operation.

Federal and State agency representatives inspect the groundwater remediation system under construction.

Federal and State agency representatives inspect the groundwater remediation system under construction.

Site restoration is complete. Final agency inspections by federal, state, and county representatives are completed and documentation is in progress to close out permits. We seeded slopes to speed native re-vegetation and planted native shrubs on two slopes that are close to the neighbors at the north end of the property. We may occasionally have equipment on-site for property maintenance.

Leslie’s November 2014 update

I’m thrilled to report that site restoration is complete and we’ve demobilized the heavy construction equipment. We appreciate the community’s understanding and patience during the restoration. Over the last four years, we removed 18 miles of underground pipelines, recycled 11,000 cubic yards of concrete and brick, removed 3,300 tons of historic infrastructure debris, remediated 43,000 cubic yards of impacted soil, graded over 207,000 cubic yards of clean soil, and installed over 13,000 linear feet of improved drainage control features. We may occasionally have equipment on-site for property maintenance during the winter months to clean silt out of drainage ditches as needed. Final agency inspections by federal, state, and county representatives are completed and documentation is in progress to close out permits. In early December we plan to seed slopes to speed native re-vegetation and plant native shrubs on two slopes that are close to the neighbors at the north end of the property.

As directed by EPA, we installed about 80 shallow vapor probes for a post-cleanup soil vapor study. A scientist finished the vapor probe sampling in November and analyses are in progress at a certified laboratory.

Crews drill wells for the groundwater air sparging system

Crews drill wells for the groundwater air sparging system

In November we continued drilling wells for the groundwater air sparging system. EPA mailed a bilingual Fact Sheet to neighbors, school, and city officials about the groundwater remediation system. The Fact Sheet is also posted on EPA’s website. The air sparging system construction should be completed over the next several weeks. We expect to begin operating the groundwater system in early 2015. The community will be notified once the system is in operation.

Leslie’s October 2014 update

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Drilling rig at work

Site restoration is complete and the “yellow iron” heavy equipment will be demobilized in early November. There will be a few ongoing property maintenance tasks to prepare for winter. We may also occasionally have equipment on-site during the winter months to clean silt out of drainage ditches as needed. Final inspections by agency representatives will be completed by mid-November. In December we plan to hydro-seed slopes with native seed to speed re-vegetation and will plant native shrubs on two slopes that are close to the neighbors at the north end of the property.

vapor probe rig

Vapor probe rig

In October we installed about 80 shallow vapor probes for a post-cleanup soil vapor study. This study will provide further confirmation of the soil cleanup in areas where petroleum hydrocarbons were found. Sampling of the vapor probes will be conducted in November.
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Drilling rig at work

In late October we began drilling wells for the groundwater air sparging system. EPA mailed a Fact Sheet to neighbors, school, and city officials about the groundwater remediation system. EPA’s Fact Sheet also describes the post-cleanup soil vapor study. The majority of the air sparging system construction should be completed over the next several weeks. We expect to begin operating the groundwater system in early 2015.

Leslie’s September 2014 Update

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Drainage work

Following a site inspection September 24, US EPA and state agency representatives advised that soil cleanup requirements will have been met once drainage control measures are complete in mid-October. While we originally anticipated completing drainage work in late September, it was delayed for two reasons. In September, a key staff member of the local firm hired to complete drainage work accepted a new job with another company. We intentionally slowed work to assure safety and quality was maintained during the transition. In addition, the County agency that issued our permits for replacing Pole Creek channel pipe connections requested a design change requiring some re-engineering. With the drainage work delay, the early October date anticipated for the removal of “yellow iron” heavy equipment has been pushed to the end of October.

In September, we also began installing erosion controls that include placing crushed gravels across the site and fiber matting on slopes. We plan to hydro-seed slopes with native seed to speed re-vegetation, and will plant native shrubs on two slopes that are close to the neighbors at the north end of the property. The timing for seeding and planting this autumn will be based on weather.

Coming up in October:

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Truck-mounted rig for post-cleanup soil vapor study

To further verify that contaminated soil has been cleaned up, confirmation soil vapor sampling will begin October 20. A small truck-mounted rig will collect samples from about 80 locations on-site over a two-week period.

Drilling rig used to install air sparging systems

Drilling rig used to install air sparging systems

On October 20 work will begin on the air sparging system, which will help clean up groundwater at the southern end of the site. A drilling rig will be used and you may hear occasional equipment noise. Soil cuttings will be collected into a bin for proper off-site disposal. Every effort will be made to prevent nuisance odors and dust during drilling. We will limit work hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays only and cease work if winds exceed 25 mph.

Leslie’s August 2014 Update

With restoration grading comes the need for new drainage controls to manage hillside rainwater runoff. In August we made progress installing drainage features that are part of our County grading permit requirements. Concrete v-ditches were constructed along the hillside slopes and drainage swales constructed in other areas of the site. Drainage pipe installation is in progress.

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As I’ve described previously, restoration grading includes excavating historic fill and re-compacting to geotechnical standards. While grading the last area near the southwest end of the site, we encountered a concrete slab buried about 6 – 7 feet underground. It was decided to remove the buried slab because it might impede drilling for the air sparging system we expect to install later this year. Confirmation soil testing as required by EPA showed that soil beneath the removed concrete did not meet the cleanup standards for lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the same chemicals in soil that we cleaned up last year. Benzene was NOT detected in this soil. The soil remedy calls for the top 10 feet of soil across the site to meet the cleanup goals. EPA directed Chevron to excavate this material from the 6-7 feet depth to below the 10-foot cleanup depth and transport it offsite for proper disposal. We were able to efficiently complete the removal of approximately 500 cubic yards of affected soil in two days. Unfortunately, there were occasional nuisance odors during excavation of the material. The crew applied an odor suppressant that is the equivalent of Simple Green to help minimize odor.

Backfill and Compaction

Site restoration has been very thorough, leaving no area untouched so that we may be certain the site is safe for reuse. This comprehensive effort is the reason we were able to find and remove debris buried when the refinery was demolished over 60 years ago, including railroad ties from the former rail spur, bricks from the original buildings, and this additional soil underneath concrete.

Coming Up in October:

Untitled-3We will complete the drainage work in September and install erosion controls in October that include fiber matting on slopes and placement of concrete gravels. EPA expects to conduct its final inspection around the end of the month. We also plan to hydro-seed slopes with native seed to help speed re-vegetation. Timing for the hydro-seeding will be determined based on weather.

Leslie’s July 2014 Update:

Untitled-1We made great progress this month on site restoration. Grading tasks are nearing completion.

During grading at the south end of the site, we excavated and removed railroad ties from the refinery’s former rail spur.. Railroad ties are “treated wood” and disposal is regulated. US EPA was notified and the ties and stained soil from the historic rail spur were loaded into bins for proper off-site disposal in accordance with environmental regulations.

Untitled-2I’ve been asked about the white poles with painted green tops. These are temporary and serve a safety purpose: they designate safe entry and exit points for dump trucks and water trucks. The height of the poles assures visibility for the equipment operators. On-site route plans are reviewed daily during morning safety meetings.

Coming Up:

Untitled-3Construction of drainage ditches and swales will be a primary focus in August, along with work on rain water retention basins. We also expect to achieve finished elevation in all areas of the site in August.

We are on track to complete all of the US EPA-required earthwork in September. After US EPA deems that soil remedial construction is complete, all heavy equipment will be removed from the site.

We expect to install the groundwater remediation system near the southern end of the site late this year

Leslie’s June 2014 Update:

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Restoration of the lower hillside continued, replacing pre-1920 building pads and fill with stable, engineered slopes. These hillside slopes will be hydro-seeded in autumn to help speed the return of native vegetation.

Approximately 80 percent of the property is now graded to finished elevation. Crews also made progress this month on rain water drainage features, including excavation of one of two planned retention basins.

As grading progressed towards the south, it was necessary to relocate the temporary stockpiles of recycled concrete, brick, and asphalt that will be reused on-site as road base. This crushed base material will be placed on the planned access roads in September after earthwork is completed.

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Coming up:

Restoration grading will continue, along with installation of drainage control features along the hillside slopes. As grading progresses towards the south, we must relocate our temporary construction trailers to a finished area of the site. The construction trailers will be removed when work is completed in September.

Leslie’s May 2014 Update:

PCPL Fillmore 016We continue to make progress on restoration grading. Cuts have been made along the lower hillside to remove pre-1920 building pads and fill. The “cut” soil is moved to low areas of the site that require backfill. We shut down earthwork on four dates in May due to high winds, bringing us to a total of nine shut down days this year. As a result, we are behind schedule. We are developing plans to help make up the lost time and are hopeful that we will still complete restoration work in September.

PCPL Fillmore 017I previously announced to nearby neighbors that soil borings would be drilled near the north end of the site to provide additional geologic information for the San Cayetano Fault study. Because the fault trench investigation at the north end of the site provided such great information, the geologists chose instead to do the borings at the center of the property. That drilling was completed during the latter part of the month. A routine groundwater sampling event was also completed in May.

You may observe four blue Rain-for-Rent tanks on our property. Drier-than-expected weather conditions are creating a need for more water for dust control and compaction than our on-site water supply well can produce during a typical work day. The tanks provide additional storage so that we can pump our on-site well longer each day to meet our water needs.

PCPL Fillmore 002Coming up:

We did not make progress on drainage features in May, but will resume drainage work in June. Restoration grading will also continue in June.

Leslie’s April 2014 Update:

Dr. Tom Rockwell stands at the San Cayetano Fault Line near the base of the hillside slope at the Fillmore Works site.

Dr. Tom Rockwell stands at the San Cayetano Fault Line near the base of the hillside slope at the Fillmore Works site.

April was a productive month for us. We completed the geotechnical study which included mapping the San Cayetano Fault and installing an inclinometer on the hilltop to verify slope stability. The fault line was found where it was expected to be, near the base of the hillside slope. At a later date, soil borings will be drilled near the north end of the site to provide additional geologic information for the fault study. As reported last month, we removed buried debris (bricks, concrete, pipe, insulation fragments) from the 1950 refinery demolition. Sorted material containing insulation fragments was loaded into red bins for off-site disposal. We conducted additional air monitoring adjacent to the community during the debris work and all results were non-detect. It was not a requirement to remove the debris; however, Chevron chose to replace buried material like this with engineered fill to best revitalize the land for future beneficial uses.

Restoration earthwork continued, working our way from the north end of the site toward the south. Restoration grading includes achieving the final backfill elevations and removing pre-1920 fill, building pads, and earthen berms. We also began work on one of the storm water retention basins that will be part of drainage control features on the property. We shut down earthwork on three dates in April due to high winds. Ongoing air monitoring continues to show that efforts to suppress dust during the work are effective. We look forward to finishing all of the grading work this summer and the “yellow iron” heavy equipment should be gone by the end of September.

Coming up:

In May, we will continue restoration grading and drainage features.

Leslie’s March 2014 Update:

Leslie Klinchuch (Chevron EMC) standing at the top of the Fillmore Works site, March 2014.

Leslie Klinchuch (Chevron EMC) standing at the top of the Fillmore Works site, March 2014.

The update that follows is a new feature of our project website and is designed to help inform project neighbors and others about day-to-day activities underway at the former Fillmore Works property. I will update the information regularly to reflect the month just ended. I hope you will find the update helpful.

Chevron started the month by replacing a groundwater monitoring well in anticipation of installing a groundwater remediation system later in the year. We also completed work outside the former refinery boundary (between the railroad tracks and Highway 126), removing pipelines and a small quantity of soil as directed by US EPA, and we finished removing pipelines just north of the railroad property. In mid-March, we began the final phase of a geotechnical study requested by the City of Fillmore. The study will gather additional evidence on the location of the San Cayetano Fault within the Texaco property, and will assemble additional data on hillside slope stability. The geotechnical study will conclude in early April. We resumed restoration grading within the former refinery boundary the last week of March. As US EPA previously reported, the soil cleanup is complete and all earthwork now involves grading clean soil. As required by US EPA for construction quality assurance, an environmental consulting firm continues to test soil samples to validate that the soil is clean. The restoration grading includes achieving the final backfill elevations, removing pre-1920 building pads and berms that are considered “undocumented fill” by today’s standards, and also removing any buried debris we encounter that dates back to demolition of the refinery in 1950. This debris may include bricks, gaskets, and insulation fragments.

Coming up:

In April, we will continue soil grading activities, progressing from north to south at the site. During our March grading activities, we encountered buried demolition debris that we will excavate and remove and dispose at a certified landfill. Similar to last year, near neighbors will see red bins on-site that are used to collect the debris. Some workers handling the debris are required to wear disposable coveralls and a face mask with an air filter, similar to what house painters may use. Dust suppression with water will be performed and additional air monitoring will be conducted along the community fence line adjacent to where debris is removed to assure protection of the public.

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