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Hey, Matt:

Some of us guys were discussing gasoline stations where we see backhoes digging up old leaking tanks and the contaminated dirt loaded into a truck. Our question is, just where does that dirt get carried off to?

-- Charlie Edmonds, downtown

If the dirt is reeeeeely dirty, like, full of oil and gas and crud, it's hauled away to Riverside County or, better yet, to Arizona. Payback for taking all our beach parking in August. At soil treatment companies there, it's detoxed and put in landfills. The just so-so dirty dirt is hauled away to be reused for certain allowable tasks, maybe as fill for new road beds. But if contamination is low, the site does not affect ground water, and it's in a populated area, the safest thing to do is throw the dirt right back into the hole. All technical decisions at these sites are made by a licensed experts hired by the contractors, overseen by the county's underground storage tank squad at Hazmat and the Water Quality Control Board.

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