BEVERLY HILLS—On November 21 and November 22, 2015 trees were removed on Parcels 12 and 13 on 9315 Civic Center Drive, according to the city of Beverly Hills website. The trees were removed due to possible hazards from falling branches and uprooting. There was then some concern about arsenic levels in the soil after the removal of the trees.
The city of Beverly Hills has made multiple documents available to the public concerning the removal of the trees from Parcels 12 and 13 and the testing of the arsenic levels of the soil and surrounding areas of the parcels. In 2015, a tree had fallen onto a vehicle traveling eastbound on Santa Monica Boulevard. This led to the owner, Mr. Lyn Konheim, to have the City Arborist, Ken Pfalzgraf, to investigate the trees along the parcels.
Many of the trees on the parcels are Eucalyptus trees and the arborist report identified that there were trees at risk for falling branches and uprooting along Civic Center Drive. In November 2015, 96 trees were removed on the north side of the parcels by the owner. Half of the trees were relocated partially on the City right-of-way, and the other half onto private property.
The soils in the parcels where the trees were removed contained above naturally occurring levels of arsenic due to the prior use of the parcels as a railroad right-of-way when they were owned by Union Pacific. Beverly Hills has taken steps in determining the level of risk to the community from the soils and tree removal, and has made an effort to mitigate the risk.
Arsenic was tested for in both the soil and in the air. The test results after the removal of the trees show no current risk to the community from the parcels. There is also no evidence that contaminated dust has migrated out of the parcels after the tree removal.
Beverly Hills has continued to work with the State’s Department of Toxic Substance Control to protect the community’s health and to make sure no contaminated soil escapes from the parcels. The DTSC is in charge of the oversight of the investigation and remediation of the parcels.
Union Pacific has been made responsible for the cleanup of the contamination on the parcels they previously owned. No final cleanup plan has been approved by the DTSC.
Canyon News emailed the city of Beverly Hills for additional information, and is currently awaiting a comment.