Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and the Ecological Rights Foundation recently reached a settlement agreement with Hot Line Construction in a lawsuit concerning a contaminated utility pole storage facility site in Goleta.
Between 2014 and 2019, Hot Line Construction stored wooden utility poles treated with the toxic chemical pentachlorophenol at a site near the Santa Barbara Airport without using appropriate protective measures to prevent or control water pollution. Through the settlement agreement, Hot Line Construction has committed to cleaning up the site.
Pentachlorophenol is a wood preservative used since the 1930s that contains substantial quantities of chemicals known as dioxins and furans, which are toxic to wildlife. Many countries have banned its use because of its harmful effects on humans and the environment.
Monitoring at the Goleta utility pole storage site showed elevated levels of dioxins and furans and significant contamination of the soil. Channelkeeper staff took samples of stormwater runoff from the site, which also revealed high levels of these contaminants. The runoff from the site ultimately drains into the Goleta Slough through the area’s storm sewer system.
Under the terms of the settlement, Hot Line Construction will clean up the contaminated area to standards that protect human health and the environment. It agreed to take initial steps to prevent contaminated runoff from leaving the site during the upcoming rainy season.
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