press release

Unocal taking action to protection Avila Beach; 'No threat to public health,' says spokesman

San Luis Obispo, Calif, March 29, 1996 Unocal today announced they will file a permit application with the Regional Water Quality Control Board for remediation at the east end of Avila Beach, in order to protect against the threat of surface exposure of hydrocarbons.

"The current underground contamination of soil at the east end of Avila Beach poses no immediate threat to public health or the marine environment. There is no surface exposure of underground hydrocarbons whatsoever," stated Bill Sharrer, manager of environmental affairs for Unocal.

Sharrer said passage of the winter storm season has greatly reduced any threat to the surrounding community. During any given year, there is a 4% likelihood of winter storms eroding the beach with the potential for hydrocarbons to be exposed. No such exposure occurred after this year's winter storms. In fact, this year's storms resulted in a natural addition of sand cover to the east end of Avila Beach. As winter comes to a close, the likelihood of erosion at Avila Beach is significantly less. Prior to next year's winter season, through the permit application and remediation, Unocal plans to reduce this risk to 1%. "An annual 4% risk is unacceptable to Unocal," stated Sharrer. "We want to remediate this risk before next year's winter season."

Based upon Unocal's beach erosion study, currently under review by various government agencies, Unocal will submit a permit application before the end of May, for remediation to occur prior to next year's winter storms.

Unocal invites the public to meet with their environmental remediation team and to tour Avila Beach on Monday, April 1, 1996, at 12:00 p.m. The team will explain Unocal's state of the art technology currently used to monitor the site to avoid threats to the public health or marine life. Residents can call 1-800-262-8017 for further information and directions for Monday's tour.

"As a resident of this County, along with other 350 employees and retirees of Unocal that call San Luis Obispo our home, I and my associates are committed to responsibly protecting the environment in the County to the same level of expectation requested by our families, children, neighbors, and friends," said Sharrer.

Updated: March 1996