Gualala Redwoods, Inc., retained VESTRA to conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment for 28,085 acres of timberland in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties, California. The site has been managed for the production of timber since the mid-1800s. The tract is currently managed for timber production using even-aged silvicultural methods. The property contained three former sawmills, a county dump-site, three homesteads, two cemeteries, and an office building. The Phase I was conducted under ASTM E2247-08 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Process for Forestland or Rural Property.
Historical photographs were obtained from the local historical society as well as historical aerial photographs to determine the locations of the former sawmills. Telephone interviews were also conducted with two long-time residents of the Gualala area, including a former mill office employee. It was important to identify the locations of the former sawmills as potential contamination at these facilities is associated with:
- Dipping of lumbering anti-sap staining fungicides including pentachlorophenol (PCP) (most common at inland mills processing pine lumber)
- Hydrocarbons and solvents at mechanics shops
- Hydrocarbons associated with leakage of compressors and equipment
- Mill dump-sites or burn dump-sites
- Miscellaneous other areas generally associated with rail, such as grade and bunker C tanks
It was determined during the site investigation that any possible contamination at the mill sites would need to be further investigated if the property were to be developed for any use other than industrial. The area of the former mill burner was regraded and covered with road base following demolition, so it would be difficult to identify areas that may have been impacted.