The former Avila Tank Farm, which is located on a bluff above the town of Avila Beach on the Central Coast of California, operated for nearly 100 years as a major oil transfer facility. The Tank Farm fueled the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet during World War II by receiving oil shipped by pipeline from other California locations and transporting it to the historic Avila Pier for tanker transport by sea. Generations of local residents were employed in the area’s important oil industry.

Union Oil Company of California ceased operations at the Avila Tank Farm in 1997 and environmental characterization of the site commenced. In 1998 and 1999, the site’s remaining petroleum storage tanks were removed and since then the 95-acre site has been unused. Chevron acquired the property as part of its acquisition of Unocal in 2005.

Chevron is committed to addressing legacy environmental impacts at the Avila Tank Farm. We are no longer pursuing potential development of the site as a resort. We are focusing our efforts on developing and executing an approved environmental remediation plan. We look forward to working with regulatory agencies, elected leaders and community members to develop a shared vision for future beneficial use of the site consistent with the San Luis Obispo County Avila Beach Specific Plan.

Site Remediation

After a century of oil operations, residual contaminants associated with industrial operations remain in the soil and ground water at the Avila Tank Farm site. Chevron will complete remediation work to prepare the site for future beneficial use consistent with the Avila Beach Specific Plan. Chevron’s remediation plan is guided by a team of experts and focuses on protecting human and ecological health. In order to better determine appropriate remediation actions, two collaborative processes were undertaken with state and local regulators.

site_remediationThe first collaborative process began in 1999 and was conducted under the direction of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) with involvement from other agencies. The RWQCB and Union Oil formed the Remediation Technology Panel (RTP), a group of technical experts that carefully evaluated the completeness and conclusions of the site characterization efforts. The oversight provided by this group helped assure a thorough understanding of the residual contamination in the site’s water and soil and identify information needed to determine the best remediation solutions.

As the RTP process ended, a second cooperative effort began that continues today. The Avila Tank Farm Collaborative Assessment Team (ATCAT) was formed to focus on assessing ecological and human health risks that may have resulted from past industrial uses and identifying appropriate remediation actions.

In August 2018, Chevron submitted to RWQCB a Feasibilty Study (FS), which is a preliminary step to develop a Remedial Action Plan (RAP). While the RWQCB is the lead agency for approving the FS and the RAP, they will rely on the certified Environmental Impact Review to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the remediation activities before taking action to approve the RAP.

In the meantime, Chevron is currently engaged in active remediation activities under a separate permit from San Luis Obispo County, referred to as the Cliff Area Remediation Project.  This project addresses fuel-related compounds in soil and bedrock in an isolated area of the bluff.

The ATCAT provides a forum where the various interests and sometimes conflicting priorities of each organization can be considered in an effort to reach consensus on future actions. It is comprised of representatives from Chevron and members of the following regulatory agencies:

  • Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department
  • San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District
  • San Luis Obispo County Environmental Health Services
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • California Coastal Commission