Huntington Beach landfill cleanup spurs concerns from parents of nearby high school

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
OC landfill cleanup spurs concerns from neighbors
Huntington Beach neighbors and parents have filed hundreds of complaints about fumes coming from the cleanup of a toxic landfill near a high school.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Neighbors of a toxic landfill in Huntington Beach have filed hundreds of complaints based on concerns about fumes coming from its cleanup.

Many of those concerns come from parents at Edison High School, who say it's having impacts on the health of their community.

"My son's had the worst headaches and I know other complaints of respiratory issues," said one parent.

It's prompted the school district to hire a third party to test the air on campus - and consider shutting down summer activities set to begin Tuesday - if the air is deemed unhealthy.

The state's Department of Toxic Substances Control, which is overseeing the cleanup of the Ascon landfill, says numerous tests show the air is safe.

"There are no significant concentrations of toxins coming offsite, but that's not to say the odor complaints cannot make someone sick," said Javier Hinojosa with the DTSC.

With the complaints in mind, the agency shut down the project indefinitely until better control measures can be put in place.

These include a taller fence, looking into additional tenting and more monitoring, just to name a few.

The Ascon landfill site project team sent a statement saying their "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."

Once all the changes are made, officials say cleanup could start back up again in four to six weeks.