Our Safety Commitment
Nothing is more important to our team than the health and safety of the Huntington Beach community as we engage with our neighbors to finish the cleanup of the Ascon Landfill Site.
Our team wants a safe cleanup for the community, and we have implemented actions to directly address concerns about odor and dust.
There are multiple layers of safety measures and protocols in place for the local community, including expanded air monitoring, taller barriers next to residential streets, and use of new products and technologies.
Public health and safety have always been a priority for the project. Because odor can be generated by compounds below detectable public health levels, a sitewide odor analysis was conducted to scientifically determine areas where additional measures can be used to neutralize or mitigate potential odor during excavation and grading before it becomes a neighborhood concern.
We funded and continue to provide technical briefings and Site inspections for a third-party technical expert, hired and managed by the City of Huntington Beach, to help keep local officials and the community informed. With the lead oversight agency, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, we’re working with key parties, the City of Huntington Beach, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, local schools, and neighbors.
We’re committed to ensuring this important environmental cleanup is completed safely.
16-Foot Barrier Fence
We have installed a 16-foot barrier fence along northern and eastern portions of the Site that reduces noise and dust offsite. The northeast corner of the barrier fence will be completed once work is approved by DTSC.
Following completion of the cleanup, we will install a new residential-quality perimeter fence.
We are researching the effectiveness and best alternatives for control of odors and dust during our work. We continue to research and evaluate nationwide odor and dust management practices and we’re working with regulatory agencies to review the best solutions. The Ascon Site has unique challenges due to uneven and unstable terrain, steep slopes, power lines and poles located along a majority of the property’s perimeter (where most of the remaining required excavation work will take place), and the mix of materials brought here over decades as an operating landfill, from construction and roadwork debris to oil production drilling muds. Our goal is to implement the best technical solutions that meet the requirements of worker safety and community protection.
Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring
New and expanded air monitoring includes using proven and widely-used technology to collect air samples – both on the Site and in the surrounding neighborhood – and then analyzing those samples to ensure air quality meets conservative, health-protective screening levels.
Learn more about air monitoring enhancements, and view air monitoring results.
Enhanced Stormwater Management and Monitoring
We are conducting proactive field work to prepare the Site for the rainy winter season. This includes implementing best practices for stormwater management after rain. Surface runoff from rainfall is directed to swales or detention basins on the Site and, in the event of large-scale rain events, discharged to the City storm drain system by permit. The Site is inspected regularly by the City stormwater inspectors and weekly by the Ascon stormwater expert to maintain compliance with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board permit.
Learn more about stormwater management and monitoring.
Soil Cover Stabilization
We have implemented new measures to stabilize excavated areas onsite to prevent odor and provide additional dust control. This includes applying a non-toxic odor suppressant material that binds to loose soils and forms a shell.
Learn more about how we manage odors at Ascon.
As part of the cleanup, an engineered, multi-layer environmental cap will be installed and native, drought- tolerant vegetation will be planted, after which the Site is considered stabilized and will not produce odor.
Opt-In Community Alert System: AsconAlert
Keeping the community informed in case of unexpected events or an emergency is a top priority at Ascon. We’ve introduced an opt-in alert system, AsconAlert, to send an informational or urgent alert message directly to your phone by text or to your email inbox for things like lane closures, after-hour activities or major contingency issues at the Ascon Site, all in coordination with local authorities. Find information on how to sign up for AsconAlert here.
We are continuing semi-annual sampling and testing of groundwater. Sampling and investigations conducted since 2002 found the impacts to shallow groundwater are contained within the Site boundaries. All results are submitted to DTSC.
Learn more about groundwater monitoring.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have air monitoring results ever identified a potential health concern related to cleanup activities?
No. According to a July 12, 2019 statement by DTSC: “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.”
Most substances that cause odors in outdoor air are not at levels that can cause long-term health effects. Air data collected to date on the Site and in the surrounding neighborhood confirmed that, even when odors have been identified, there have not been any chemicals at levels that present a risk to the community. However, we recognize there have been serious concerns about odors from our neighbors, and we are taking action to reduce odors in future work.
No, the Ascon Site has no impact on drinking water. Due to the influence of sea water, groundwater near the Site is not suitable for drinking. There are no drinking wells within miles of the Site.
No. Groundwater testing at the Ascon Site as far back as 1982 has shown impacts to groundwater are limited and are not leaving the Site.
As part of the effort to protect against the spread of coronavirus, we are following the guidance of public health officials. What that looks like for us, right now is: support personnel are working from home, project personnel remain on the job to maintain Site critical operations, maintenance, security and protect public safety. Those working on Site critical operations are following all recommended best practices guidelines for social distancing, hand washing, and sanitized work spaces.
Our safety commitment to you has not changed: Nothing is more important to our team than the health and safety of the Huntington Beach community. The situation with coronavirus is quickly evolving. We will keep you updated as this situation moves forward and regarding onsite actions.
Yes, indirectly—the capping of waste materials prevents stormwater and potential contaminants from percolating into the groundwater. The low-level historical impacts to shallow groundwater are found only in the area within the boundaries of Ascon. Years of sampling reports and analysis submitted to and reviewed by DTSC have determined there is no public health risk from site groundwater.
No. A majority of Southeast Huntington Beach is on the former West Newport Oil Field. There are plugged and abandoned oil wells and former waste sumps throughout the neighborhood unrelated to Ascon.
What is the reason for the location of onsite monitoring wells planned for after the construction of the environmental cap?
The monitoring well network will be made up of eight perimeter onsite and offsite monitoring wells following completion of the final cleanup and construction of the environmental cap. The purpose and placement of the wells will be to monitor any potential groundwater contaminant concentration trends in the upgradient, cross-gradient, and downgradient directions from the site.
There are no production wells within three miles of the Site (drinking water, agricultural, industrial) due to seawater intrusion that extends three miles inland from the Site. However, the stewardship and ongoing maintenance and monitoring of Ascon does not stop after the cleanup. The groundwater monitoring well network and monitoring frequency will monitor for groundwater trends and potential groundwater contaminants. Regular groundwater monitoring reports will continue to be submitted to and reviewed by DTSC for the public database Envirostor.
Have a Question or Concern?
Please contact the Ascon community information line at 714-388-1825 or email [email protected] If there is a potential emergency, please call 911. Find information about Pit F and view telemetry air monitoring data here. Sign up for AsconAlert, an opt-in community alert system for the Ascon project here.
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