According to a recent article in the VC Reporter, the EPA-ordered cleanup of the Petrochem site on Highway 33 is due for completion by February 28, 2013. The abandoned oil refinery is a familiar site to anyone driving between Ojai and Ventura, and has always been one of the big questions for those interested in the health of the Ventura River. Shell Oil operated it as a urea plant prior to it being converted to the USA Petroleum oil refinery. According to the article two above-ground storage tanks contained a total of 2,500 barrels of crude oil; six other storage tanks contained a total of 4,800 barrels of fuel oil, oily substances and refinery chemicals. All contaminated material, soil, drainages, and equipment were to be removed from the site, except refinery equipment designated for resale.
The big question is what will become of the site once it has been cleaned up. There have been many proposals for development over the past two decades, ranging from dense housing development to eco-industrial parks. The City of Ventura investigated the potential for annexing the entire upper Ventura Avenue area and Canada Larga, all of which is currently under Ventura County jurisdiction. Of particular concern is the fact that Petrochem is situated within the 100-year floodplain of the Ventura River as well as being vulnerable to flooding from Canada Larga creek.
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