OROVILLE, Calif. - There is a giant pit in a parking lot in downtown Oroville - this is a cleanup project conducted by PG&E to get rid of hazardous chemicals that were found in the soil from a former manufactured gas plant.
The parking lot on the corner of Montgomerey and Huntoon street in Oroville, is a former gas plant site from the 1800's.
It stopped operating in the 1920's, but left a significant amount of toxins in the soil that PG&E is now cleaning up.
"We're committed to fixing any historical mediation that needs to take place because the safety and health of our communities is our number one priority," said Paul Moreno, spokesperson with PG&E.
Moreno said the company took soil samples of the area and found hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds and metals including arsenic and lead.
PG&E's work now is to remove the 10 thousand tons of contaminated soil and fill the area with clean soil.
In terms of any hazardous dust particles in the air...
"We have controls in place we've worked very closely with the butte county air quality control district we have measures in place to control dust by keeping the area moist and we're continuously monitoring for dust conditions to make sure they don't occur," Moreno said.
Businesses along Montgomerey street are more worried about the parking situation for their customers, since the construction takes up a majority of the lot.
Business owner Andy Nelson of Nelson's Footwear didn't want to be shown on camera, but he said a group of store owners on the strip went to the city in June, when construction started, and asked them for more parking spaces... and their wish was granted.
Nelson said the city even gave customers a designated lot around the corner from the construction site.
Moreno said this project won't be completed for another couple months, but they're working with the community to make sure there are open parking spaces in the downtown area.
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