Navy Urged to Take Care in Cleanup

City officials are urging the U.S. Navy to use extreme caution when removing tons of contaminated soil from an old battery acid dump site near McGaugh Elementary School.

"We're just saying, 'Hey, keep in mind there are 800 kids pretty close [to the clean-up site],' " said Lee Whittenberg, the city's director of development services. "I think they're going to be fairly careful, but we just wanted to go on the record that we had some concerns."

The concern centers on an old battery shop on the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Center.

For 30 years, Navy mechanics dumped neutralized battery acid--which contains lead--into a concrete basin inside the shop.

The pit drained into a salt marsh and contaminated the soil.

That soil must now be hauled off. In a letter to the Navy approved by the council Monday, city officials urged the Navy to avoid cleaning up during windy weather and to cover the soil as it is trucked from the site.

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