Ventura County will take over the supervision of approximately 140 leaking underground fuel tanks in the city of Ventura, a move that officials say will allow property owners to receive state grants to speed cleanup operations.
The Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to approve the agreement with Ventura. Supervisors Judy Mikels and John Flynn opposed the action because it requires the hiring of a new staff person.
But Doug Beach, manager of the county's hazardous materials program, said the county would be fully reimbursed by the state for the new position.
"The county will bear no cost for this," he said.
Beach said the county already supervises the cleanup of leaking fuel tanks in nine other local cities and unincorporated areas as part of a statewide program. Since 1988, the county has supervised the cleanup of 260 sites and is still overseeing the cleanup of 380 more.
Beach said those property owners included in the state program--and who have paid at least $10,000 to clean up their contaminated land--are eligible to apply for up to $1 million in state grants.
"The majority of the sites are former gas stations," Beach said.
The request for Ventura to join in the program came from a number of private companies, including the Atlantic Richfield Co. and Unocal Corp.