The oil operation historically included:

  • Nearly 490 oil wells (87 of which were more recently active or idle; the rest are abandoned).
  • Approximately 40 miles of pipeline.
  • Oil separation, processing, and storage facilities.
  • Oil pumps and sumps.
  • Ongoing maintenance of wells.

Remediation of the property will require:

  • Capping and abandonment of active and idle oil wells.
  • Removal of oil field infrastructure (pipelines, pumps, other structures).
  • Identification of contaminants, including dump sites and cleanup of those contaminants.
  • Removal of existing concrete stockpiles.

The oil remediation plan, called a Remedial Action Plan, has been approved by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Resources Control Board.

Although oil operations on the land have existed for decades, most of the wells are now capped, sealed, and abandoned. Plants and wildlife are in the process of recovering and the transformation of an industrial landscape into a thriving ecosystem continues, providing an excellent example of nature’s biodiversity and its resilience.

Overall the contamination on the upland mesas is light, nonhazardous and perfectly suited to open space remediation methods that involve aerating and oxygenating the soil to encourage the growth of indigenous hydrocarbon reducing bacteria.

The Banning Ranch Conservancy believes that state-of-the-art environmental science, pragmatic planning, and nature itself are our best allies in the remediation of the land and its ultimate use for public education and recreation in a beautiful, natural setting.

A great advantage of open space remediation is that nature is an integral part of the process—and the cost is only a fraction of what it would be for residential remediation. With open space remediation, there is no requirement to re-abandon several hundred oil wells at a cost of approximately $100,000 per well. Nor is it necessary to excavate nearly three million cubic yards of contaminated soil, making cuts as deep as 25 feet and altering natural land forms. And perhaps most significantly, no critical habitat will be destroyed and no wildlife displaced or killed.

Open space remediation is the ideal solution for the land. It utilizes native plants and natural forms of bioremediation to restore, preserve and protect virtually all of the land as it now exists. As a coastal nature preserve and park, the Randall Preserve would be the final link in the imagined 1,000 acre network of natural and coastal lands.