What is the Ascon Landfill Site?
The Ascon Landfill Site is a 38-acre property located at the southwest corner of Magnolia Street and Hamilton Avenue in Huntington Beach. It was utilized as a licensed facility from 1938 to 1984, when the landfill was closed.
What was dumped at the Ascon Landfill Site?
The landfill originally received drilling waste from oil production in the Huntington Beach area, during the region’s oil boom. Industrial and oil field wastes were disposed of at the landfill until 1971. From 1971 to 1984 construction debris was disposed of at the site. The landfill was closed in 1984.
Is Ascon a superfund site?
Ascon is a State of California superfund site and is regulated by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), also known as Cal EPA. “Superfund” refers to the financial collaboration by parties involved in a cleanup.
Ascon Landfill Site is not a federal superfund site and is not listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Priorities List. No taxpayer funds are used for the cleanup of Ascon.
Federal and state agencies use a Hazard Ranking System with a 0 to 100 score to determine if a site needs to be listed on the National Priorities List. A Hazard Ranking score of 28.5 or higher places a site on the National Priorities List. Ascon is not ranked at a level to be included on the National Priorities List.
The National Priorities List and interactive map can be found at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-national-priorities-list-npl.
Who is responsible for the cleanup?
The original owners of the property who started the landfill in 1938 — the Garrish Brothers — are no longer alive. Other parties who owned the landfill property are unable to participate in the cleanup.
In 2003, the State of California and Cooperating Parties, known as “Responsible Parties,” signed a Consent Order to work together to clean up the landfill. The Responsible Parties never owned the landfill, but had predecessors who utilized the landfill during its decades of permitted operation.
No public funds or tax dollars are used for the cleanup. The cleanup is funded by the Responsible Parties, including costs for oversight by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).
Has anything been done since the landfill closed?
Since the 2003 Consent Order, there have been three major remedial work efforts that have significantly changed the physical nature of the landfill through removal of over 160,000 tons of waste materials.
These remedial actions include the Emergency Action (2005-2006), the Interim Removal Measure (2010-2011), and the Early Remedial Action and Lagoon Solidification (2017-2018). Information about those remedial actions is available on the “Past Actions” page of this website and on DTSC’s Envirostor.
When does the work start?
The Final Remedy mobilized in January 2019.
Who oversees this work?
DTSC certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approved the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) in June 2015 after a multi-year public review and comment process guided by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Additional permits for the field work are obtained from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), Huntington Beach Fire Department and the City of Huntington Beach, who also approves the coastal zone work on behalf of the California Coastal Commission.
What happens when the Final Remedy is done?
We anticipate this work will be completed in mid to late 2020, dependent on the challenges of the cleanup, weather, and regulatory direction. After the construction of the environmental cap in the final phase, the property will be planted with drought tolerant vegetation native to California, and the permanent perimeter fence will be installed. The property will function as protected open space.
The companies involved in the cleanup and the companies who own the property are still responsible for monitoring the site after the cleanup is completed. They will provide ongoing maintenance and Site security after the project is completed.
Will the Ascon Site be developed?
There are no development plans. Should there be any development considered in future years, this would require a separate and public Environmental Impact Review process before the City of Huntington Beach, with public input and with DTSC certifying allowable uses.
What will Ascon look like after the cleanup is done?
The property will look like an open field of California native or drought-tolerant plants, with a gradual hillside toward the southwest (near the new AES power plant). The fencing along Magnolia and Hamilton streets is residential quality and was reviewed for approval by the City of Huntington Beach Design Review Board. The property will not be open to the public and will be a protected open space.
Where can I find more information?
The fact sheets and documents for the work conducted at the Ascon Landfill Site are available on this website and on the DTSC website, Envirostor. If you have questions, please call the project hotline, 714-388-1825.