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Monitoring of Cleanup Urged at Railroad Yard

April 22, 1993|ANNE KLARNER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

GLASSELL PARK — In response to complaints about the cleanup of ground pollution at the Taylor Yard area in Glassell Park, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Hernandez is calling on residents to monitor the project.

Taylor Yard is the strip of land between the Los Angeles River and San Fernando Road, between the Glendale and Pasadena freeways.

Southern Pacific Railroad is treating and removing soil contaminated by petroleum products and lead from the yard and replacing it with fresh dirt.

Eduardo P. Reyes, Hernandez's aide, said residents have expressed concerns about dust in the air and dirt and mud on surrounding streets.

"They are asking for a study to determine who is being affected by all this," Reyes said. He said witnesses contend that cars have been slipping in the mud left behind by the trucks, and that tarpaulins tied over trucks hauling dirt have not been secured, so treated soil is falling onto the streets.

Officials from the Southern Pacific Railroad and I. C. West, an environmental consulting firm owned by S. P. Environmental Systems, a sister company to Southern Pacific, said that the health risk is negligible and that the trucks are properly covered.

"I think the residents may be mistaken. There are other trucks hauling dirt on the property," said Michael Conway, senior sales manager in real estate development for Southern Pacific. "All of our trucks are very closely watched and are secured before they leave."

The other trucks include those working on a Metro Rail project and some bringing clean fill dirt from the Disney concert hall site downtown.

However, I. C. West regional director Todd Hook, project manager for the Taylor Yard, said not every truck is inspected before it leaves the yard with the treated soil.

"We have 40 trucks a day hauling out (treated soil). Probably 20% are observed," he said. "We have people on the site full time. I haven't seen any problems." He added that after the petroleum-contaminated soil has been treated, the levels of toxins "are not what I would consider a danger to public health."

Conway has been attending community meetings to reassure residents.

Reyes said those concerned about the possibility of contamination from the Taylor Yard should contact Hernandez's office (213) 485-3451 and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (800) 572-6306.

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