Costa Mesa planners approve contamination cleanup equipment at oil-change location

Cleanup site
The Costa Mesa Planning Commission voted Monday to approve installation of equipment meant to extract soil vapor and groundwater to decrease the concentration of contaminants at the Valvoline Instant Oil Change location at 3599 Harbor Blvd.
(Daily Pilot)

A potential environmental hazard in Costa Mesa is getting another chance at a cleanup following a vote by the city Planning Commission, which approved permits for a second time.

The commission voted 6-0 on Monday, with member Jenna Tourje absent, to approve installation of a multiphase extraction system 18 inches from the sidewalk and surrounded by 6-foot-tall decorative walls at the Valvoline Instant Oil Change location at 3599 Harbor Blvd.

The MPE system is meant to extract soil vapor and groundwater to decrease the concentration of contaminants.

The extraction is expected to be complete in about three years, and the equipment will be removed.


From 1964 to 1991, the site was used by Unocal as an automobile service station. The station’s underground gasoline and waste oil storage tanks contaminated the soil, according to a city staff report. Before an EZ Lube opened at the location, more than 440 tons of contaminated soil were removed, yet the neighboring Ana Mesa Inn discovered fuel vapor and contaminated soil on its property, the report said.

In 2011, when the site was occupied by EZ Lube, the Planning Commission approved temporary equipment to be located along Harbor Boulevard to extract contaminants like petroleum hydrocarbons from the soil and groundwater. The equipment wasn’t installed and permits expired in 2013.

Commissioner Kedarious Colbert asked Monday why it wasn’t installed and what the city can do to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

City Principal Planner Minoo Ashabi said the Orange County Health Care Agency is responsible for monitoring the cleanup and that the city’s responsibility is to approve the location of the equipment.


“We would need to be in communication with the county agents” about the cleanup, Ashabi said.

“Once variances are approved, we still have to get approval for discharge from the city,” said Zachary Mason from Arcadis U.S., an engineering firm acting on behalf of Chevron, which acquired Unocal in 2005. He estimated installation of the equipment could take three to four months.

“Get ‘er done,” Commissioner Jon Zich said after Monday’s vote.

New wine bar and shop approved for westside Costa Mesa

The Planning Commission voted 6-0 to approve two permits allowing Semi Tropical Wines to sell and serve wine.

Kyle Kennelly and Rebecca Mantei, owners of Daydream Surf Shop on Monrovia Avenue, will work exclusively with organic wine at the new business at 816 W. 19th St.

They plan to add drought-tolerant plants, a mural, a bike rack and one handicapped-accessible parking spot. The shop will share seven parking spaces with neighboring cocktail bar Casa, and the duo wants to encourage customers to ride-share, walk or bike by offering a 10% discount.

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