Officials from the Department of the Navy as well as state and federal environmental agencies met with residents Wednesday night to outline the cleanup plan for hazardous waste contamination at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station.
About two dozen people attended the meeting, the first of several that will take place as the toxic cleanup moves forward.
A preliminary investigation by the Navy identified four sites around the 5,000-acre base that contain hazardous materials. They include a landfill used to dispose of empty paint and solvent containers and a waste-water settling pond that contains metals, alkali and acidic waste water. The Navy also detected arsenic, nickel and zinc at a 6.5-acre island in the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge.
The four sites will be studied more closely as investigators try to come up with options for removing the hazardous waste. After that, a “proposed action plan” will be developed and a new public hearing will be called.
“We want to establish a dialogue with the community,” said Claire Best of the California Department of Toxic Substance Control.
Residents expressed concern as to whether any ground water had been contaminated. Officials said that would be addressed later.
Also on hand to explain the environmental cleanup program were representatives from the naval station and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Navy officials are continuing preliminary investigations at several other sites believed to be contaminated.
They said the full cleanup will cost between $29 million and $45 million and take six to 16 years to complete.