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Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

Capistrano Unified School District obtained approval for a coastal development permit on Monday, June 22, from the Dana Point Planning Commission to remove hazardous material from the district’s bus site in Capistrano Beach.

The application proposed that the “minor cleanup actions” include removal of sealed, non-leaking drums or barrels of hazardous waste or substances that have been stabilized, containerized and are designated for a lawfully permitted destination. CUSD intends to excavate the material from the bus yard located at 26126 Victoria Boulevard with offsite disposal of contaminated soils.

“As for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the proposed project qualifies for a categorical exemption under Class 30, in that the project scope is considered minor cleanup action,” said Belinda Deines, the city’s principal planner.

The project includes demolition of a 3,658-square-foot mechanic shop, 714 square-foot tire storage building, 1,075 square-foot wood shed, and gas islands, and removal of 38,000 square feet of asphalt pavement, two underground storage tanks (10,000 and 20,000 gallons), four hydraulic lifts, one clarifier, fuel piping, and approximately 1,800 cubic yards of potentially contaminated soil. The excavation required to remove the two gas and diesel underground storage tanks requires permits in compliance with the Orange County Health Care Agency and Orange County Fire Authority.

“Right now, that is an estimate of potentially contaminated soil,” said Chris Larson, the project representative for CUSD. “Most of the time, it is excavated and hauled away to a hazardous removal site.”

Larson added that the water table is 16-20 feet below the potentially contaminated soil and there is no anticipation for the water table to be contaminated.

Deines told Dana Point Times that the mechanic shop includes four hydraulic lifts with underground tanks and piping.

“This facility was used for vehicle maintenance and repair, which has the potential for contaminated soils at the site,” Deines said. “Additional soil sampling will be required to determine the extent of the hazardous materials in the soil.”

CUSD will need to obtain permits from the County of Orange Health Care Agency Environmental Health Division, as well as other regulatory agency reviews and the City’s grading permit process before removal and demolition will begin.

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