"Additional analytical testing is required to complete the hazardous waste determination for the following reasons," stated Melinda Talent, Ventura County Environmental Health Division in the August 5, 2015 letter to Brian Baca of Ventura County Planning. The reasons listed were as follows:
- "SCWW has not provided any documentation that the wastes contained in these tanks are strictly crude oil exploration and production wastes and acknowledges no tracking of the waste into the discrete tanks was performed and further identification of the source or date received for the contents of each tank are unknown."
- "The contents of the tanks identified as industrial and domestic (non-crude oil E&P) wastes requiring further analytical testing share constituents (most notable barium) with those identified as tank bottoms, production water and drill mud. Barium should not be a constituent of the industrial and domestic waste streams."
- "Regardless of the Federal E&P exclusion, those constituents potentially exceeding the Soluble Threshold Limit Concentration (STLC) for California Toxicity, in this case Barium and Lead, would still need to be assessed."
The letter informed SCWW they needed to complete a "hazardous waste determination by conducting the required testing to verify barium, lead and benzene do not exceed federal and/or state limits." These determinations were required prior to removing any of the waste from those tanks.
According to the letter one of the tanks SCWW reported was as not having any hazardous waste characteristics in fact was found to have a barium concentration of "2,000 mg/kg, exceeding 10X the Soluble Threshold Limit Concentration (in California). The waste is a potential California hazardous waste and must be removed from this category and added to the list of tanks that require further testing."
Following receiving that letter, Baca sent a copy of it, along with the email text below to Rob Dal Farra and John Hecht of Sespe Consulting, a Ventura based environmental and land use/planning firm. Sespe has represented SCWW in the past. (read the full letter also attached below)
At least 24 hours prior to fluid disposal or tank removal, EHD and Planning Division staff (Craig Cooper 805-654-2127; Brian R. Baca, 805-654-5192) must be notified of the specific actions to be taken. EHD or Planning staff may monitor the removal activities. These removal activities are hereby authorized pursuant to the April 20, 2015 Emergency Use Authorization issued by the County Planning Division.
The contents of other tanks have not been confirmed to be non-hazardous and require additional testing as indicated in the 8-5-15 EHD memorandum.