Firefighters conduct a training exercise at the Del Valle facility. File photo: KHTS.
The County of Los Angeles is preparing to spend up to $2.5 million to study and develop an environmental management plan for old oil wells on the 160-acre Del Valle Regional Fire Training Facility property, which the county intends to improve.
A proposal from County CEO William T. Fujioka and Fire Chief Daryl Osby appears on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda for Tuesday, but Fujioka has asked that the supervisors hold off until they meet again Nov. 19.
The plan calls for the county to hire a national environmental consulting firm, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services (which won a competitive bidding process last year), to spend the next three and maybe five years testing soils, preparing an environmental management plan and handling the regulatory necessities for the county to construct future improvements to the property, located at 28101 Chiquito Canyon Road in the Castaic area.
According to Fujioka and Osby’s report, there are 21 active, idle or abandoned oil wells on the site.
“Since 1940,” they write, “the Del Valle site has been under lease for oil and gas production, and the minerals and royalties from the production were reserved by previous owners. The Fire District does not own any minerals or royalties, and only holds title to the real property (surface only).”
Vintage Oil, a subsidiary of Occidental, owns the mineral rights and “ has exclusive rights to use the surface to explore for oil and gas, drill new oil wells, and maintain existing oil wells and production facilities.” Vintage and previous owners quitclaimed surface rights to the Fire District, which has “procured various environmental investigations and reports for portions of the site” over the past 20 years.
The proposed $2.5 million consultant contract “includes, but is not limited to, a review and compilation of historic site data, including prior reports procured by the Fire District, and preparation of an environmental management plan for the Del Valle site. The environmental management plan will identify areas of concern, and provide a framework for addressing the environmental work required as the Fire District proceeds with the development of the Del Valle site.”