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West Ventura County Focus

Cleanup of Navy Base Storage Yard Finished

June 25, 1997|CHRIS CHI

A hazardous waste cleanup project aimed at removing contaminated soil from a former Point Mugu storage yard and restoring wetlands has been completed, Navy officials said Tuesday.

During the winter and spring, Navy workers cleared about 14,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from a 12-acre site once used to store vehicles and maintenance parts. The storage yard was in operation from the 1960s until last year. Officials estimate about 40 gallons of transformer fluid leaked onto the site. Sandblasting at the yard also contaminated the soil with arsenic, copper and lead, officials said.

The storage yard was located near the center of Naval Air Weapons Station, just off Mugu Lagoon. After clearing out the soil and razing old buildings, workers dug a channel from the lagoon to the cleanup site. Two small islands, mud flats, and a tidal creek have been restored, base spokeswoman Cora Fields said.

Officials hope endangered birds will be attracted to an area that suffered from a lack of environmental awareness, Fields said.

"If something leaked on the ground, they'd just throw dirt on it--that was standard practice," she said. "We're hoping to attract species who've lost habitat for nesting."

The area is the fourth of 11 sites at Point Mugu that Navy officials have designated for cleanup.

The storage yard cleanup was certified by the California Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, officials said.

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