press release

Unocal expediting remediation at Guadalupe Dunes; permit application filed; EIR to begin

Orcutt, April 19, 1996 -- Unocal has adopted a suggestion by the San Luis Obispo County Department of Building and Planning to submit a permit application for Unocal's proposed remediation project at Guadalupe Dunes. This continues the recent cooperative efforts between Unocal and two primary regulatory bodies, the County of San Luis Obispo and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

"We are in complete agreement with the County's suggestion that Unocal can help fast-track remediation by filing a permit application and starting a focused environmental assessment now," said Bill Sharrer, manager of environmental affairs for Unocal. "With the advancement of a Remedial Action Plan and Pipeline and Surface Facilities Removal plan, Unocal agrees that it is the right time to commence the process."

Unocal's action will speed the remediation approval process considerably, as filing the permit with the County triggers the California Environmental Quality Act, such that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be prepared for the proposed remediation project.

"As the County proceeds with its environmental review over the next several months, Unocal anticipates working closely with the County and the Water Board to focus the environmental review and streamline the process," said Sharrer.

Three actions are included in the permit application:

  1. The remedial action plan for separate phase diluent and dissolved phase diluent in the shallow aquifer at Guadalupe Dunes. Diluent is a kerosene-like petroleum product that was used as a thinning agent when the oil field was in operation. Separate phase diluent is diluent that has not mixed with the ground water -- similar to trying to mix water and vegetable oil together, they remain separate; dissolved phase diluent has dissolved in the ground water. Both phases of the diluent are subsurface. This action proposes to remediate both phases of diluent.
  2. Pipeline and surface facility removal. This action is the removal of pipeline and surface facilities as may be required by the state Division of Oil and Gas. This may include non-essential pipelines, tanks, meters and old monitoring equipment. These facilities are no longer necessary since there are no active operations at this location.
  3. Six emergency projects previously authorized. Unocal has received emergency permits for work necessary to clean up or prevent further contamination at the Guadalupe Dunes over the past six years. This action reviews those emergency activities and proposes any follow up actions that may be needed.

By working closely with the County, Unocal hopes to reduce duplication of efforts and significantly reduce the time for preparing the EIR.

Updated: April 1996