LONG BEACH — Several hundred tons of contaminated soil was removed from a former gas station lot in Long Beach, the latest stage in an environmental cleanup at the corner of 1400 Pacific Ave. that started in April 2017.

“We excavated about 500 tons of contaminated soil,” said Paula Richardson, vice president of Portland-based Saga Environmental and Engineering, a consulting firm based in Portland.

Richardson, who was on-site during the latest excavation on Thursday, Oct. 18, said the contaminated soil was equivalent to more than 30 dump-truck loads, which was transported to Hillsboro Landfill, a recycling and waste disposal site.

“This is our second round of excavations,” Richardson explained.

“We’ve got almost all of it out. Now we’re going to be installing a groundwater treatment system. It will have injection trenches and extraction wells. We’re putting in a bacterium consortium and dissolved oxygen that will help remediate the groundwater.”

Former gas stations are among the most egregious environmental offenders, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Of an estimated 450,000 petroleum-contaminated sites across the U.S., about half are from storage tanks at former gas stations, according to the EPA.

The cleanup at 1400 Pacific Ave. began in April 2017 with the dismantling of three above-ground fuel tanks. The tanks, nearly rusted beyond recognition, once contained different octanes of fuel and had become a potential source of soil and water contamination.

After that, excavating and remediating any contaminated soil and groundwater were the next steps, Richardson said. The removal of petroleum and fuel residues was anticipated to take about a year to complete when the cleanup started.

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