Land Development


Boyle Dayton Los Angeles 1

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles

The Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Company was a reputable manufacturer and seller of fueling pumps and standalone underground tanks, for automobiles in the early 1900s. Unlike modern gasoline service stations, the Boyle Dayton Company was a specialty manufacturer of curbside fuel station accessories. Curbside fueling stations were common in America before the demand for full service stations. In fact, curbside fueling stations were typically part of drug stores and hardware shops. And commonly fronting the major streets and roadways. The Boyle Dayton Los Angeles company had the reputation of making stylish, economic and easy-to-use standalone pumps and tanks for these curbside fueling stations. The company was in operation from approximately 1910 through 1929, on the corner of 52nd Street and Santa Fe Avenue, in the City of Los Angeles, California. The Boyle Dayton Company was a prominent part of the history of American gasoline, oil and automobile sectors.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST Gas Pump

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST Gas Pump www.collectorcarproductions.com

Remains of Boyle Dayton

Take a walk in Los Angeles, and you will likely not think twice about the multitude of utility manways and vaults underlying the aging concrete beneath your feet. The City of Angels has undergone rebuilding and redevelopment several times since its inception, and continues to evolve to this day. Many of the metal lids and covers seen on the street are no longer in use and long forgotten. However, some may warrant a closer inspection, particularly if you are concerned about the environmental condition of a property.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST Valve Manhole Lid

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST Valve Manhole Lid

Non-descript circular lids are seen in sidewalks across the city, with the words “Boyle Dayton Los Angeles” on them. These metal discs bear the name of a long-forgotten gasoline dispenser manufacturing company. The Boyle Dayton Company was a huge part of the gasoline service station industry, and American industrial history. Boyle Dayton Los Angeles essentially introduced factors of convenience, quality and style into their parts, much like Apple and Tesla do today. As a result, the Boyle Dayton Company history is a feature subject in automobile and petroleum museums across the country.

Curbside Fueling Stations

The world’s first fueling station was built in Wiesloch, Germany in 1888 to refill the tank of the first automobile. This station was reportedly setup at the city pharmacy during Bertha Benz’s inaugural trip from Mannheim to Pfrozheim. In the same way, pharmacies all over began selling gasoline on the side. The first fueling station made solely to sell gasoline was built in St. Louis, Missouri in 1905. With the growing rate of automobile manufacturing and ownership, curbside fuel stations became of higher demand. Consequently, new curbside gasoline stations began to appear across the United States.

The first generations of curbside fuel stations were quickly followed by full service auto fueling and repair stations. The idea for the full service station, was to create a one-stop-shop, where travelers can repair and fuel-up their cars while using the restroom, enjoying a meal and picking up road maps and tourist brochures. Consequently, the curbside fueling stations became obsolete, and the standalone gas pumps and USTs were put out of commission. According to a review of historical fire insurance maps, these replacements began as early as the 1930s. However, fueling was not a regulated service at the time. Additionally, there had been a lack of environmental impact understanding during the early dates of decommissioning. Thus many curbside station owners chose to remove the above ground accessories, leaving the underground components in place.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Aug 1925 Newspaper AD

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Arizona Republic – Aug 1925

The First Drive-Up Fuel Stations

The first drive-up station opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1913. In fact, prior to drive-up stations, gasoline was typically purchasable at general or hardware stores. Early gas stations were powered by kerosene adapter pumps. These pumps would require hand-cranking, and could accurately measure and dispense fuel. Earliest pump models include a metal tank with wooden cabinet, and have a hand-operation suction pump. These early systems were capable of holding approximately 40-gallons of fuel at a time. Moreover, the early systems did not entail direct fueling into and automobile. Instead, the system would require a technician to dispense the fuel into a secondary container, and manually transfer it into the vehicle’s gas tank. As a result, most gasoline stations chose to store the fuel in the dispensers themselves, in effort to save time.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Jun 1928 Newspaper AD (2)

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles San Francisco Examiner – Jun 1928

Early 1900 Technology & Style

The Boyle Dayton Company was born in Los Angeles in approximately 1910 and manufactured a gasoline pump called the “Boyco” by 1920. The company continued operations through 1929, until agreeing to a corporate acquisition by the Wayne Pump Company. Boyle Dayton Los Angeles had a reputation for making stylish pumps that accurately measure oil and gasoline, as well underground storage tanks, lubrication pumps, and air compressors. Pumps by the Boyle Dayton Company included bolting assemblies to the ground and connections to product pipes leading to underground storage tanks directly underground. Additionally, Boyle Dayton secured a patent for an air-powered technology which increases the speed an automobile could be fueled. As a result of the innovative design, there had been a significant increase in popularity of their pumps and sales. Consequently, installations of their pumps began spreading radially outward from their home base in Los Angeles.

Although the Boyle Dayton Company was in business for a brief period of time, signs of the former gas pump and tank manufacturer exist all throughout Los Angeles. For instance, their legacy still displays in the form of small utility covers within the city walkways, and in petroleum museums.

History of Underground Storage Tanks

In the urban areas across America, underground storage tanks (USTs) became popular for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Early tanks were typically single-wall steel sheets, and under 1,000 gallons by volume. Boyle Dayton did advertise a study manufacturing process, with galvanized steel, riveting and soldering. Moreover, the tanks and pumps had glossy paint jobs, much like cars the at the time. And according to an Automobile Trader listing for Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Company, the pumps and dispensers were capable of an easy quick connection to a variety of tanks (any capacity).

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST www.worthpoint.com

These tanks typically comprise of three openings. One serves a purpose for ventilation piping. Another is for a filling port. And in the third place, a suction line, leading directly to the pump. Additionally, the fill pipe appears to include a strainer to prevent debris from flowing inside the tank.

An average set up of the original Boyle-Dayton pumps may include two curbside pumps on a sidewalk. Each pump would be directly connecting to a stand-alone underground storage tank. Typically, the underground storage tanks underlay the sidewalk as well. Furthermore, additional lines were likely to extend from the UST, toward an air compressor for pump operational purposes. Fill ports are typically flush with the ground surface, and directly lead to the top of the UST for easy deliveries.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Jun 1928 Newspaper AD

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles San Francisco Examiner – Jun 1928

City Sidewalks

Since the original Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Company pumps were located within city sidewalks, the remnant features remain in place for over a century. Especially in areas which have not undergone road-widening and redevelopment. For example, a former curbside fueling station operational in 1915, may not have sold gasoline for decades. However, there may still be an existing fuel storage tanks (UST), as well as ventilation and product lines within the sidewalk. And although these items are technically off site, the owner may still be held responsible for any environmental issues arising from the original curbside gasoline station.

In the City of Los Angeles, municipal substructure maps often denote the locations of known underground tanks in city sidewalks. Additionally to gasoline tanks in association with former curbside stations, many city buildings historically maintain heating fuel tanks in the street. Underground storage tanks in association with former gasoline fueling activities will often still have piping and access ports to the former fill pipe and former pump locations. The “Boyle Dayton Los Angeles” utility covers in age-old sidewalks indicate the prior locations of these features. Often, these underground storage tanks are unnoticeable due to having no record of the substructure or former use of the property and the lack of familiarity with the former gasoline pump manufacturer brand.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Jun 1921 Newspaper AD

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Jun 1921 Newspaper Ad

Environmental Site Assessment Concerns

Remaining underground storage tank features represent an environmental concern. This is due mostly to the lack of corrosion protection and secondary containment. Despite advertisements to the contrary, the single-wall steel piping and tanks with riveted sheet metal are prone to damage and rust. Consequently, hazardous contamination compounds include gasoline, diesel, fuel, oil and metals such as lead. As a result, these substances may impact the surrounding soil, soil vapor, and groundwater.

If a property undergoes redevelopment or selling, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is the prudent coarse of due diligence. Environmental due diligence reports entail professionals which may identify the potential underground fuel tanks and piping. If evidence of former fueling activities are noticeable, there would be a recommendation to perform a geophysical survey. Furthermore, the existing underground storage tanks can undergo a removal and official abandonment process, under the proper permits and environmental protocol. Typically, this includes sampling oversight by a licensed Professional Geologist.

Informational Sources

Explore Pennsylvania History

Antique Trader

Los Angeles Navigate LA

Handbook of Storage Tank Systems Available Now

American Oil & Gas Historical Society

Cali Spphere – University of California


Is the Earth Around Millennium Tower Sinking 1

Is the Earth Around Millennium Tower Sinking?

Is the earth around the Millennium Tower sinking? Built in 2008, the Millennium Tower in San Francisco has reportedly sunken about 17 inches into the ground surface. This subsidence is a consequence of an improper geotechnical engineering design, and potential changes the hydro-geological setting. Moreover, surveyors indicate the structure is tilting, with a difference of approximately 3 inches from side to side. At the moment, the local building and safety department states the structure is safe for continuous living. However, the rate of subsidence isn’t likely to change or stop anytime soon. Thus, expert geotechnical engineers are handling this corrective action project, and believe the foundation can be salvaged with final solution. At this time, cost estimations for this mitigation effort range between $300,000,000 and $500,000,000. Updated December 25, 2018.

Is the Earth Around Millennium Tower Sinking?

Is the Earth Around Millennium Tower Sinking?

The Solution to the Millennium Tower Sinking

After years of testing, analysis and surveying, geologists and engineers are now proposing an updated mitigation plan. This corrective action proposal comprises a series of retrofit piles which aim to counterbalance the sinking foundation. As a result, the geologists and drillers plan to supersede the depths of the bay area mud underlying the building, and securely tap the new piles into the underlying bedrock. Ultimately, these devices intend to stabilize the downward sinking side of the existing high rise structure. Whereas the opposite end would temporarily continue to sink. And theoretically, the tilting building should reach an equilibrium, and straighten itself within equal or lesser time.

According to an sfgate.com article, the executive partners at O’Melveny & Myers (Millennium Tower resident legal representation) state the geotechnical engineers are confident the latest corrective action plan will stabilize the building overtime.

Demonstration cross-section of micro pile system to uplift sinking Millennium Tower

Micro Pile (Photo Cred: Vision Winter / O’Melveny & Myers + sfgate.com)

The Geology of San Francisco

The geology of the San Francisco bay area is complex. Much like other areas, this introduces an abundance of complications and liabilities with land development projects. Bay mud is a common sedimentary deposit comprising of sand, silt and clay. Generally, these sediments contain shallow static groundwater levels, which also keep the soil in a consistent state of saturation. As a result, bay muds have a high porosity (retaining water) and low permeability (movement of water within). Furthermore, bay muds have high compression factors and low shear strength, making it hazardous for structural development. Especially within the seismically active and fault ridden area of San Francisco, California.

Subsidence and liquefaction are the typical geological hazards in association with bay mud. And static groundwater levels fluctuate as a result of precipitation, periods of drought, water pumping and de-watering activities at nearby construction sites. Consequently, the soil-characteristics of the bay mud are subject to change, when soil zones go from wet to dry. For instance, subsidence can occur when groundwater levels decline. On the other hand, liquefaction can occur when groundwater levels rise.

Bedrock underlying the Millennium Tower is approximately 200 feet below ground surface. The corrective action proposal entails drilling and installing a series of piles into the bedrock underlying the bay mud. Moreover, these piles are likely to base another 100 to 150 feet within the bedrock it’self. As a result, drilling requirements may require approximately 350 feet of total depth at each pile location.

The Importance of a Proper Geological Assessment

The earth around the Millennium Tower sinking, is a subject which truly highlights the importance of a proper geological assessment. Cutting costs on any geological engineering service, can backfire greatly.


Contaminated Soil Excavation & AQMD Rule 1166   Recently updated !

Contaminated Soil Excavation & AQMD Rule 1166

AQMD Rule 1166 applies to Southern California construction sites undergoing contaminated soil excavation. To start, AQMD Rule 1166 requires a mitigation plan.  Moreover, this report is also goes by the title “Contaminated Soil Excavation Plan.” Additionally, the rule requires air quality testing during excavation. The primary oversight agency is the Air Quality Management District (also referred to as the AQMD or SCAQMD in the South Coast). Updated February 19, 2019.

Contaminated Soil Excavation and AQMD Rule 1166 ©Dmitry_Kalinovsky

Contaminated Soil Excavation and AQMD Rule 1166 ©Dmitry_Kalinovsky

Discovering Contaminated Soil Excavation Issues

Unless a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment or Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation calls it out, you may be surprised to find contaminated soil at a job site. It happens from time to time. As a result, there are legal requirements for disposal and monitoring. Consequently, an environmental engineering firm should be retained to achieve proper contaminated soil excavation and AQMD Rule 1166 compliance.

In the first place, the process starts with soil sampling by an environmental consultant. Next, the consultant will prepare a waste profile and manifest. At this point, the engineering firm should also complete a mitigation plan. Some mitigation plans are site-specific. Others are for various locations. Lastly, the SCAQMD will need to approve the mitigation plan, and issue a permit to dig.

Tasks that require AQMD Rule 1166 Compliance

Per the rule, compliance is necessary for each of the following activities:

  • Removal of any underground storage tank (UST) or associated product piping.
  • Contaminated soil excavation.
  • Stockpiling and movement of contaminated soil.
  • The treatment of contaminated soil at a disposal facility.

Accordingly, there is a need to monitor disturbed soil via an organic vapor analyzer (OVA). Often times a photo-ionization detector (PID) is exemplary. Other times a flame-ionization detector (FID) may be more ideal.

Costs for Contaminated Soil Excavation

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any general cost estimates via the internet. There are just too many variables in each project. A custom price quote is a requirement for each specific project.  However, you can expect to pay for the following items for an AQMD Rule 1166 compliant contaminated soil excavation:

  • Soil sample laboratory analysis.
  • AQMD Rule 1166 permit application.
  • Mitigation Plan preparation.
  • Contaminated soil excavation air monitoring labor.
  • Permit closure process.
Finish the Job Right and Save Money

AQMD Rule 1166 compliance is a requirement for contaminated soil excavation. Although this process is costly, the fines and penalties for violating them are more. Thus, its best to consult an proper environmental engineering firm. Moreover, a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment at the purchase stage is the best recommendation for staying one step ahead. If contaminated soil becomes apparent during the assessment, a proper budget can be set.

 


Can You Retest Methane Test of Soil?   Recently updated !

Can You Retest Methane Test of Soil?

Information about a retest methane test can be difficult to find. Sometimes a methane test will result in high results at a property. On rare occasions, developers will ask if a retest methane test can be done. Is this possible? And is this ethical? Whatever the decision, there is a possible legal requirement to still submit the original test data that reports highest methane levels. This is a public health concern. The rule is to submit the original report with the retest methane test report for the agency to ultimately review. More than likely, the agency will go with the highest result, as a matter of public safety.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (also known as the LADBS agency) has distinguished methane zones and methane buffer zones.  Additionally, the Los Angeles Fire Department (also known as the LAFD agency) has oversight. As a result, methane mitigation standards are applied.  And therefore, a methane test becomes necessary.  Other cities and counties also administer the same methane test policies. Cities like Huntington Beach have their own standards, while others may reference the LADBS policies and guidelines directly.

Can you retest methane test soil in oil fields?

Interest to Retest a Methane Test

Building Safety Codes base the standard on the highest overall test results. Consequently, the LADBS and LAFD typically select a Level per the highest overall result. For Example, consider a scenario with two methane test reports by different companies. the first methane test reports Level 5, and the retest methane test reports Level 4. In this case, the agency is likely to use the highest methane test, which is the Level 5.

The Legal Requirement to Report all Methane Test Data

High levels of methane soil gas become a matter of public health concern. Anyone that has discovered high levels of methane test results, is required to obey the California Health and Safety Code and report results to LADBS and LAFD. In other jurisdictions, all potential public health hazards should also be reported to the appropriate agency for proper evaluation.

Thus, the policy entails the appropriate agency receive a copy of each methane test report, including the original and retest methane test.

What will the Agencies Decide?

Only the appropriate oversight-agency has the authority to decide what methane level a property is. One cannot guarantee whether the agency decides to accept the original report or retest methane test. In the example above, the decision in the matter is entirely up to the City of Los Angeles.

Methane Test Results for Properties with Oil Wells

Properties with oil wells typically result in high-level methane mitigation systems. Thus, it is common that a Level 5 mitigation system has an appropriate level of building safety components. Accordingly, the higher results between a methane test and a retest methane test are likely to prevail. Building an appropriate level mitigation system is not just about construction costs. Its about the health safety of those who will use the building.

For more information about the inquiry and your specific property, call (888) 930-6604 and request a free consultation today.


Additional Information & Sources: 

DTSC Reporting Nonemergency Hazardous Substance Releases

EPA Groundwater & Drinking Water

EPA Risk Assessment

U.S. EPA

U.S. EPA Guidance for CH4 Landfill Gas Sampling & Testing

City of Los Angeles, Department of Building & Safety

The CH4 Zone – The Land Developer’s Guide


Methane Testing

Methane Testing Southern California

The Geo Forward team is licensed to provide methane testing for all building departments in California. Additionally, we are an authorized engineering agency for the City Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.

Methane (CH4) is the primary hydrocarbon gas found within natural gas in soil.  Natural gas additionally includes hydrogen sulfide (H2S) when associated with former oil fields. Furthermore, methane soil gas can exist in areas nearby landfills and natural oil deposits.

The main hazard of CH4 in soil gas is explosion. Without proper mitigation, the combustible gas can buildup inside structures. And because methane is colorless and odorless, occupants remain unaware.

The Geo Forward team offers fast, affordable and reliable reports.  These custom reports are guaranteed to meet building department standards. Moreover, our scope of work for each soil gas survey is custom-designed to be approved during the first submission.

Methane Testing initially includes a shallow probe soil gas survey. Afterwards, a drilling rig is used to drill and install multiple sampling zones underground.

Methane Testing Shallow Soil Gas Probe – Photo Credit: University of Texas at Austin & Bureau of Economic Geology


Benefits of the Soil Gas Survey

In some cases, methane test results can omit the requirement for developers to install a costly vapor barrier.  Geo Forward reports are optimized to help plan checkers, contractors, designers and developers complete projects quickly on a budget.

Furthermore, a mitigation plan can designed for the proposed structure to eliminate the hazards of soil gas intrusion.


Methane Zone and Methane Buffer Zone

The City of Los Angeles determined boundaries for areas that require methane testing and mitigation. These borders make up either a Methane Zone or Methane Buffer Zone.


Related Links & Maps

Los Angeles Methane Zone and Methane Buffer Zone Map
Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering
Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS)
MethaneZone.com


Forward-Thinking Geologists, Engineers & Contractors!