The California Coastal Commission today gave the go ahead for BP/ARCO to begin cleaning up a 25-year-old gasoline leak in Seal Beach by tearing down the gas station and digging out the contaminated dirt.

Orange County health officials ordered the cleanup of the Pacific Coast Highway gas station last summer that requires the oil company to tear down the building and dig out and haul away the contaminated soil underneath.

BP/ARCO had wanted to use other clean-up methods, but county health officials turned them down, saying they wanted a solution that had been proven to be effective.

A year ago, three homes in the Bridgeport neighborhood adjacent to the station were briefly evacuated due to fumes from the old leak seeping up from underground.

Richard Sanchez, the county health agency’s environmental health director, said Tuesday that they will begin work in May to make sure the rainy season and any chance of local flooding have passed.

The worst of the contamination is believed to be within the station property, he said, but if serious pollution extends farther out “we’ll make our decision” on how to handle that after digging out the station’s dirt.


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