Riverside County plans to close one of two former underground leaking fuel sites in Idyllwild and test whether hydrocarbons, which have seeped into the ground at the second site, can be removed without any soil disturbance.

On April 11, the Department of Environmental Health sent a letter to Nick Sanden, owner of the Village Food and Fuel property (Shell station) in Idyllwild, stating that both RCDEH and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board for the Santa Ana region have reviewed the data and agree to closing the underground storage tank clean-up case for this site.

Detected hydrocarbons from Monitoring Well no. 1 at the Village Food and Fuel site continued to decline during 2013. For example, xylene concentrations that exceeded 26,200 (micrograms per liter) at one time were less than 1 µg/l last fall.

In June 2013, the county agreed that remedial efforts reduced the hydrocarbon effect in the area. Consequently, in February 2014, R.M. Environmental, the engineering firm that has been monitoring the site for years, recommended that the site could be closed.

Last month, the county concurred and is preparing the paperwork to notify the community of its intention and reasons for ceasing monitoring the wells associated with this fuel site, monitoring that was originally opened in 1997.

Within the next few weeks, a public notice will be published and the public will have 60 days to comment on the closure decision.

One of the closure conditions will be shifting responsibility of six existing monitoring wells, mostly on the west side of Highway 243, to the project monitoring the Idyllwild Chevron Station site.

In an April 9 letter, RCDEH indicated in a letter to John and Steve Friemoth, owners of the Chevron station, its agreement with implementing a soil vapor extraction test on their site.

R.M. Environmental also is doing the engineering and environmental monitoring at this site. The firm has proposed using a three-day pilot soil vapor extraction test for two wells to remove hydrocarbons and monitoring the results with four other onsite wells. After the state approves funding, the effort will begin.

This process has been used at the Village Food and Pine Cove market sites. The latter was closed a year ago.