Site of future terminal at Hollywood Burbank Airport must undergo soil testing to rule out health risks

Site of future terminal at Hollywood Burbank Airport must undergo soil testing to rule out health risks
Hollywood Burbank Airport will build a new 14-gate terminal on a 49-acre site. But the land must first undergo soil testing. (Roger Wilson / Burbank Leader)

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority now has the entitlements to use the B-6 property at Hollywood Burbank Airport to build a replacement 14-gate terminal.

However, that 49-acre site, which was home to Lockheed Corp.'s Skunk Works, must undergo soil and soil-vapor tests to see if there are any materials that may pose health risks to the public.

Commissioners voted 7-0 to award EFI Global Inc. a $155,000 contract to conduct the testing on the B-6 site to determine if there are any residual volatile organic compounds in the ground.

Commissioner Steve Madison of Pasadena was absent.

Dan Feger, the airport's director of development services and former executive director, said Lockheed was manufacturing various aircraft at the B-6 location from 1941 to 1990, which resulted in the soil and groundwater being contaminated.

In 1996, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that Lockheed no longer needed to perform additional cleanup at the site. However, the agency did not look into whether there would be risks to construction workers and any occupants there.

Though the aircraft company was ordered to clean up the areas where it was manufacturing, Feger said that per its development agreement with the city of Burbank, the airport authority "determined that additional testing with modern, more sensitive testing methods should be implemented to allow analysis of possible impacts on construction workers, future occupants of the site and/or future property users who work nearby."

EFI Global plans to test the soil from 144 locations around the B-6 site at various depths to determine if there are any contaminants.

The data gathered by EFI Global will be used by Geosyntec Consultants, an environmental consulting firm hired by the airport authority to prepare a human-health-risk assessment, to determine any mitigating measures that need to be taken to avoid health risks for crews constructing the terminal, passengers using it or employees working there.

The Regional Water Quality Control Board and the state Office of Environmental Human Hazard Assessment will provide oversight while Geosyntec drafts its report.

The soil testing is expected to be completed by April and a summary report should be finished by May. The human health-risk assessment needs to be completed and approved by regulators about three months after they receive the summary report, Feger said.


Anthony Clark Carpio,

Twitter: @acocarpio