California Coastal Commission will consider a request to restore a section of oil field to tidal wetlands.
LONG BEACH—The California Coastal Commission, on Nov. 6, will be considering a permit application to replace a stretch of shallow contaminated sediment at Los Cerritos Wetlands with clean sediment. Los Cerritos Wetlands, LLC, filed the remediation request with the Coastal Commission.
About 0.47 acres of the Synergy Oil Field at Los Cerritos Wetlands – which is relatively close to Alamitos Bay Marina and Naples Island in Long Beach – has, according to Coastal Commission staff, been used “as a disposal site for oil field-related wastes.”
The oil field, Coastal Commission staff added, is within a “highly disturbed area” of Los Cerritos Wetlands.
“The proposed remediation is a necessary first step in a larger effort, approved by the Commission in December 2018 … to restore this portion of the Synergy site to tidal wetlands as part of a mitigation bank,” Coastal Commission staff said in a report to commissioners. “Due to factors including the complexity of prior to permit issuance requirements, the [permit] has not yet been issued.
“The mitigation bank is still under review by an Interagency Review Team (IRT) consisting of staff from the [Coastal] Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, and United States Fish and Wildlife Service and will come before the commission for approval in the next several months,” Coastal Commission staff continued.
Los Cerritos Wetlands, LLC, as applicant for the remediation proposal, filed this application permit “to ensure the site is clean and credits can be released as soon as the bank is approved,” according to Coastal Commission staff.
“The applicant is proposing sediment remediation at two discrete locations … both degraded remnant wetland areas cut off from tidal influence,” Coastal Commission staff said in its report to commissioners. “Testing results showed levels of chlorinate pesticides, PCBs, arsenic, copper, zinc, lead and nickel in excess of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Effect Range Low level.”
Coastal Commission staff added the remediation project should take two weeks to complete.
“The remediation, as proposed and conditioned, will help to restore marine resources in areas of special biological significance consistent with Coastal Act Section 30230, restore the biological productivity and quality of wetlands consistent with Coastal Act Section 30231, and clean up past spillage of hazardous substances and protect against further contamination,” according to Coastal Commission staff.
“Furthermore, the proposed project, as conditioned, is an allowable use of wetland dredge and fill as a restoration activity,” Coastal Commission staff continued in its report to commissioners. “The proposed remediation is the least environmentally damaging alternative because the applicant is proposing the minimum disturbance footprint necessary to ensure that contaminated sediment is completely removed from the restoration site and has designed staging and ingress/egress routes to avoid sensitive species and minimize impacts to wetlands areas within the oil field.”