LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Bellflower, Calif. yesterday celebrated the grand opening of “Fronk’s,” a new restaurant built on a former gas station with help from $65,000 in funds from EPA’s Brownfields and Underground Storage Tank (UST) Programs.
Fronk’s is located on the corner of Bellflower Blvd, and Walnut Ave. in Downtown Bellflower and is part of the City’s Revitalization Vision Strategy which plans to redesign the downtown commercial corridor to include several unique plazas that include mixed-use, residential and commercial neighbors together. Construction of the new building that houses Fronk’s began in the summer of 2013 and was completed in February 2014. In addition, another restaurant at this location, Café Camellia, was renovated and an outdoor seating area was built. The project is integrated with an adjacent, mixed-use affordable housing project.
“Returning contaminated land to productive use brings business and jobs back into communities, and protects human health and the environment,” said Jeff Scott director of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region’s Waste Management Division. “This new restaurant is a great example of how federal, state and local agencies can work together to clean and revitalize an urban site.”
“This project shows just how much can get done when public agencies and private owners work together to revitalize neighborhoods. To turn what used be a dilapidated gas station into a beautiful and functional addition to our growing Downtown just shows how far Bellflower has come, and is just one sign that Bellflower is back,” said Ray Dunton, Mayor of the City of Bellflower.
In 2011, EPA’s UST program provided approximately $12,000 for the initial assessment of the site to determine if any petroleum hydrocarbon from the former gas station had caused groundwater or soil contamination that may have impacted future site occupants and next door residents. In 2012, the site was transitioned to EPA’s Brownfields program which provided $53,000 towards a field investigation of the site. During the investigation, in addition to soil samples taken, two 500-gallon gasoline underground tanks, one 280-gallon waste oil underground tank, and product lines were removed and recycled from the site.
The site had previously been occupied by a fueling and service station. Since the 1970s, part of the site was used for a restaurant and the other part was used for window-tinting and auto services.
EPA supports revitalization and redevelopment of unused or underutilized sites that may have been impacted by contamination. Due to the high cleanup costs, these types of sites are not being purchased for use and can remain vacant for decades. The EPA and the State Water Resources Control Board have been working together to assess and cleanup these types of sites in order to make them available for resale and reuse.
In December 2010 the EPA and the State Water Resources Control Board launched the UST Cleanup Partnership in the I-710 Corridor. As a result of this multi-agency initiative fieldwork was conducted at 26 sites, including 12 EPA funded sites. The I-710 Corridor is a geographic focus area for EPA and the I-710 underground tank work is part of the agency’s larger collaborative effort to improve environmental and public health conditions along this corridor.
For additional information on EPA’s UST Program, as well as a factsheet on this site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/waste/ust/