Armed with a letter from the companies promising to review cleanup
plans, a new developer hopes to nail down funds from them and build homes
on one of the last stretches of undeveloped beachfront property in
But city leaders of a town built by the black gold pumped from
thousands of wells in the 1930s, 40s and 50s have taken a skeptical
attitude, after watching a string of developers head into bankruptcy
"Hopefully, now with some responsible parties, we'll get it cleaned
up," Councilwoman Grace Winchell said. "Unless there's some money coming
in from these companies, we're probably going to go down the drain
Winchell sat on the council in 1992, when the NESI Investment Group
secured approval from the city for the cleanup plan and a zoning change
that would allow as many as 502 homes to built.
The site has always registered on City Hall's radar screen, but it
took a step up the ladder last month when it was included in the city's
redevelopment plans for the southeastern section of Huntington Beach.
Since December, the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control has
held several rounds of private talks with the nine oil companies that
used the 38-acre parcel for more than five decades as the end point for
their crude-oil waste, styrene and other chemicals.
The list is a who's who of multibillion-dollar industrial giants --
Atlantic Richfield Co., Chevron Texaco Corp., Conoco Inc., Dow Chemical
Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Phillips Petroleum Co., Shell Transport &
Trading, Southern California Edison and TRW Inc.
The companies have hired Project Navigator, a Fullerton environmental
firm, to analyze soil and ground water contamination at Ascon, which is
at the corner of Magnolia Street and Hamilton Avenue.
"The process is to review a variety of options to determine whether
excavation and removal of the waste can be implemented successfully,"
Chevron Texaco spokesman Santana Gonzalez said. "Chevron Texaco expects
the working group to work cooperatively to assure that any past
activities of the company do not pose a risk to the community."
A trip onto the site shows just what a hodgepodge of junk and waste