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H.B. commissioners to consider final permits for 18-month cleanup at former Ascon Landfill

H.B. commissioners to consider final permits for 18-month cleanup at former Ascon Landfill
The 38-acre Ascon property at the southwest corner of Hamilton Avenue and Magnolia Street in Huntington Beach operated as a waste disposal facility from about 1938 to 1984, with oversight primarily from the state Department of Toxic Substances Control. (File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

An environmental consultant is asking that the Huntington Beach Planning Commission grant the final two permits needed to begin an estimated 18-month cleanup at the long-defunct Ascon Landfill.

The 38-acre property at the southwest corner of Hamilton Avenue and Magnolia Street operated as a waste disposal facility from about 1938 to 1984, with oversight coming primarily from the state Department of Toxic Substances Control.

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Applicant Tamara Zeier of Project Navigator is requesting coastal development and conditional use permits to begin excavating up to 32,250 cubic yards of contaminated materials. Waste would be disposed off site.

Plans include capping the landfill with drought-tolerant vegetation and adding two storm water detention basins.

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If commissioners grant Zeier’s request, work is expected to begin in 2019 and continue through 2020, according to the staff report. Work would take place between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. Once completed, the area would remain fenced.

Efforts to improve the area began after the state demanded cleanup of the site’s five waste-filled lagoons and six oil wells in 2003.

Much of the waste came from oil drilling until 1971, when the landfill became a depository for construction debris, according to the Ascon website.

In 2017, commissioners granted property owner Cannery Hamilton Properties a development permit for abandonment of two oil wells beneath one of the five lagoons.

There aren’t immediate plans for future development after the proposed cleanup, according to the project narrative, but any proposals would be subject to approval from state regulators and Huntington Beach.

The site, which is bordered by homes, Edison Park and Edison High School, is a health concern for some nearby residents.

In 2017, residents voiced concerns about an odorous black dust. It was unclear whether the dust originated at the Ascon site, but crews monitored their activities and Cannery Hamilton worked with homeowners.

Tuesday’s commission meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chamber at City Hall, 2000 Main St.

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