News Releases

  • DTSC Statement Regarding Progress Made in Implementing Health and Safety Enhancements at Ascon Landfill

    On July 9, 2019, representatives of the Responsible Parties cleaning up the Ascon Landfill site in Huntington Beach briefed officials on the implementation of health and safety enhancements at the site. The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) suspended cleanup activities at the site after community members lodged hundreds of odor complaints. Work will resume once the Responsible Parties implement the health and safety enhancements required by DTSC. (DTSC’s letter describing the enhancements is attached.)

    Officials in attendance included Huntington Beach Mayor Erik Peterson, other city officials, Assemblymember Cottie Petri-Norris’ staff members, Huntington Beach City School District and Huntington Beach Union High School District administrators, DTSC and South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD).

    The representatives described enhancements they have completed, and enhancements in the process of being implemented or designed. They are already using more effective odor suppressants on contaminated, bare soil. They and AQMD staff have sampled onsite concrete rubble for asbestos and found none. They have increased the on-site monitoring frequency to 24 hours a day, seven days a week for chemicals that might travel through the air in dust or vapor.

    The representatives have also committed to expand their air monitoring network to include mobile stations at Edison High School, Eader Elementary School, Edison Community Park and on two residential streets by September 30, 2019.

    Ongoing air monitoring at the site has not found any chemicals above levels that present a public health concern. The health protective monitoring levels are set to protect members of the community, including children and other vulnerable people.

    The representatives will meet with DTSC, AQMD and other oversight agencies on July 16, 2019, to discuss their proposed actions to implement other enhancements. DTSC and other officials asked the representatives to provide timelines for implementing required enhancements.

    At the request of officials for the city of Huntington Beach, members of the government organizations at the briefing agreed to participate in two teams. One team will focus on coordinating government agencies to facilitate implementation of health and safety enhancements. The other team will help the representatives provide community information on the actions the representatives are taking to implement the enhancements.

    For additional information: Members of the community may contact DTSC Public Participation Specialist Stacey Lear at (714) 484-5354 or Stacey.Lear@dtsc.ca.gov.

    View a PDF of this statement.

  • New product in use at Ascon Landfill Site

    A new product is being used at the Ascon Landfill Site to cover some of the excavated areas of the Site as an additional mitigation measure for potential odor and dust. Posi-Shell® is a medium to dark clay color when applied and lightens in color as it dries. This product is slightly darker in appearance than the non-toxic white Rusmar foam used as an odor suppressant at Ascon.

    Posi-Shell® is a non-toxic blend of bentonite clay, fibers, and polymers which dries as a thin stucco. It is applied as a wet slurry using equipment similar to hydro seed equipment.

  • Update from the Ascon Landfill Site Project Team

    The Ascon Landfill Site project has implemented a temporary shutdown of excavation activities to establish enhanced mitigation measures, in compliance with direction from the lead regulatory agency, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

    DTSC states that “monitoring has not found any chemicals in the air above a level that causes public health concern.” The enhanced mitigation actions being implemented address odor concerns and help answer questions from the community about the final cleanup.

    The Ascon Landfill Site team takes public concerns very seriously. We support actions that maintain a safe environmental cleanup and we support actions that help the public better understand the work being conducted.

    A temporary shutdown of excavation activities was announced by the Ascon project on Thursday, June 6, 2019, until the end of the school year for Edison High School, as well as the construction during the shutdown of a taller barrier fence along Magnolia and Hamilton streets, and support and funding of a third-party technical advisor. DTSC extended the temporary shutdown to allow time to implement enhanced mitigation actions during the final cleanup of the 81-year-old Ascon Landfill Site.

    The Ascon project team will work with DTSC, the City of Huntington Beach, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the Huntington Beach Unified High School District (HBUHSD) regarding actions directed by DTSC on June 12, 2019, which include:

    • Construction during the shutdown of the taller barrier fence along Magnolia and Hamilton streets announced by the project team on June 6.
    • Establishment of a third-party technical advisor, under the management of the City of Huntington Beach.
    • Investigation of the feasibility of additional tenting or enclosure in excavation areas that have potential to produce more odors.
    • Cover or solidify impacted soil in excavation areas, in addition to mitigation measures already conducted.
    • Monitoring of additional heavy metals, in addition to metals currently included in the air monitoring program.
    • Additional offsite air quality monitoring, including at nearby schools, and a review of air quality monitoring validation methodologies which confirm monitoring data.
    • Analysis of onsite concrete to address community concerns regarding potential asbestos.
    • A complaint and response protocol, to formalize DTSC and project team actions already implemented in response to community concerns.

    Some actions are already in progress, such as construction of the taller barrier fence during the shutdown. Some require additional development with the DTSC technical team, prior to specific details being available. During the shutdown, field actions including air quality monitoring, dust and odor mitigation, regular site inspection, and 24-hour site security will be conducted. There also will be delivery of equipment required for future cleanup work activities and activity regarding additional analysis of onsite materials.

    While the Ascon project team is working to implement these actions, it is anticipated the shutdown will remain in place for at least 30 days. Updates on the current actions and the status of the final cleanup will be posted when available on the project website, www.AsconHB.com.

  • There will be a temporary shutdown of field activities at the Ascon Landfill Site. The project team will announce when field activities are expected to resume, with concurrence by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

    The Ascon Landfill Site project team announced on June 3 the construction of a taller barrier fence, which we anticipate should begin being installed the week of June 10, subject to City permits. Ascon Landfill Site also previously announced a temporary shut down through the end of the school year in June for Edison High School.

    During this time, there will be a continued presence onsite to conduct dust and odor measures, site security and site maintenance. We expect the taller barrier fence construction, as well as the establishment of a third party technical advisor. The project team fully supports a third party technical advisor for the community to help the public better understand the project and field actions.

    The Ascon Landfill Site team takes the public concerns very seriously. We support actions that maintain a safe environmental cleanup and we support actions that help the public better understand the work being conducted.

  • A Notice of Violation (NOV) for South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 402 was issued on May 2, 2019, after SCAQMD received community complaints regarding nuisance odors.

    The SCAQMD Rule 402 pertains to nuisance odors and the NOV is triggered by confirmed odors. Representatives from SCAQMD informed the Ascon project team that any odor above a “zero odor” may be included in an NOV of Rule 402.

    The Ascon Landfill Site is in compliance with the approved Air Monitoring Program and is monitoring air quality throughout the day. Multiple odor suppressant measures are used to mitigate the temporary odor which may occur during the cleanup of the 81-year-old landfill, including the use of non-toxic, biodegradable foam and odor elimination products.

    This public concern is taken very seriously. The project will continue to take active measures to suppress odor as part of the overall air quality management program. Additionally, a taller barrier fence will be constructed along Hamilton Avenue and Magnolia Street, currently scheduled to begin the week of June 10, contingent on City approval.

    We ask the public to use the project hotline, 714-388-1825, to let us know if there is an odor concern in order for the onsite team to take quick action.