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“Stop Work” Order Issued at Ag Park for Possible Contamination

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The City of Riverside issued a “Stop Work” order today at the property known as Ag Park, suspending development at the site while a state agency reviews an earlier environmental clearance it issued for the land.

The state Department of Toxic Substances Control, or DTSC, cleared the property at Rutland and Jurupa avenues for development in April, 2014. Last month, the agency notified the City that the agency is reviewing its earlier findings in light of concerns that have been raised by nearby residents and community groups regarding possibly contamination at the site.

Riverside City Manager John A. Russo decided to issue the “Stop Work” order after receiving a June 16 letter from DTSC Director Barbara Lee requesting that the City “refrain from approving further actions with regard to the site until the Department has completed its review.”

“This action effectively presses the ‘pause button’ until DTSC finishes its review of its earlier determination regarding the property,” Russo said.

DTSC oversaw clean-up of an incident in 2003 when sludge from a broken sewage digester was released onto the property. That material and the site were found to contain chemicals known as PCBs, but DTSC later cleared the property for development following an extensive clean-up effort.

The property owner intends to develop a project on the site known as Arroyo Park. A hearing on a proposal to use a community facilities district to finance various public improvements like streets, roads and sewers through the sale of tax-exempt bonds has been delayed.

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