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Proposed site for replacement terminal at Hollywood Burbank Airport deemed compatible, officials say

Proposed site for replacement terminal at Hollywood Burbank Airport deemed compatible, officials say
The Hollywood Burbank Airport has a new sign, as seen on the main tower of the airfield on Friday. (Raul Roa / Burbank Leader)

Hollywood Burbank Airport officials are inching their way closer to making a replacement terminal a reality.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority voted 8-0 on Tuesday to accept the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board’s approval of the airport’s human health risk assessment for the area known as the B-6 site, which is the preferred location for the 14-gate replacement terminal.

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Commissioner Steve Madison of Pasadena was absent.

With the water quality control board’s approval of the site, airport authority members are now waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to select a consultant to prepare an environmental impact statement for the project.

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Norman Dupont, an attorney for law firm Ring Bender and an outside legal consultant for the authority, told commissioners that the relatively fast conclusion of the report was a rare instance for the regional water quality control board, in which the agency clearly and concisely states that the 49-acre site is compatible for construction of the terminal and accompanying structures and facilities.

“That’s a gold star, if you ever want to see it from a bureaucratic organization such as the L.A. Regional Water [Quality Control] Board,” Dupont said.

The local water quality agency officials sent the airport authority their approval of the risk assessment, which was prepared for the airport by Geosyntec Consultants, on Jan. 29.

In its report to the authority, the agency determined that the replacement terminal project poses little to no health risks to those who would be involved with construction of the complex and those who would be working at the airport on a regular basis.

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The human health-risk assessment involved testing the soil and soil vapors at the B-6 site, which was formerly the home of Lockheed Corp.’s Skunk Works operations.

EFI Global Inc. was hired by the airport authority to conduct the tests, which the company did in February and March 2017. The tests involved collecting samples from 144 locations on the site. Some of the soil samples collected went as deep as 25 feet below the surface.

Last July, Geosyntec approved the test findings, concluding that cancer risks were below the minimum level for construction workers, airport employees and passengers.

Although the regional water quality control board approved the risk assessment, the agency presented two conditions the authority needs to meet before moving forward.

The authority must submit a soil-management plan, which would identify how soil and dust from the construction would be handled, to the local agency. Dupont said that this was not a significant issue for the authority because it will also be preparing and submitting a similar plan to Burbank.

Additionally, the authority must approve a covenant and environmental restriction to prohibit building homes, schools or daycare facilities on the B-6 site, Dupont said.

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