The Ocean View School District plans to end a decades-long contract with Rainbow Environmental Services on Saturday amid ongoing litigation regarding odors and health concerns stemming from the nearby trash facility, officials said.
The school district, which serves 18 preschools, elementary schools and middle schools in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Westminster and Midway City, will begin contracting with CR&R Environmental Services of Stanton.
"We wanted to make sure our trash from our school sites was taken to a facility that was enclosed and doesn't cause a nuisance for its neighbors," said Gina Clayton-Tarvin, president of the district's board of trustees.
Residents of the Oak View neighborhood, a low-income, largely Latino neighborhood, have long complained about odors eminating from the trash facility and soot that lands on nearby Oak View Elementary School's playground equipment.
The district filed a lawsuit against Rainbow, now owned by Phoenix-based Republic Services, in December 2013, saying the company had not met state standards for controlling nuisances and should enclose its operation to reduce dust, odors and noise.
Clayton-Tarvin said the school district decided in 2014 to change trash haulers but to contract with Rainbow on a month-to-month basis while district officials talked with other haulers. Rainbow was then notified in June 2015 of the decision to terminate the contract, which had been in place for nearly 40 years.
CR&R will provide the same services — including trash and recycling pickup — that Rainbow provided but at a negotiated cost of about $30,000 less annually, Clayton-Tarvin said. Schools will also no longer have to separate their trash and recyclables since CR&R's facility has a specialized separation system, she added.
Clayton-Tarvin said Rainbow has been served multiple notices of violation within the last two months by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, including two citations for odors and one for air contaminants.
In particular, the AQMD advised the facility on April 13 that its misting system to reduce dust and odors was not functioning properly, the agency said on its website. By May 16, it had still not been fixed, according to the AQMD.
Under a stipulated abatement order set forth by the AQMD in November, Rainbow must follow a list of operational changes by Dec. 1, 2017, including running a misting system to reduce dust and odors and enclosing the areas where the company collects and sorts solid waste, green waste, recyclables and construction and demolition debris.
"Rainbow has been proud to serve the Oak View School District for more than 40 years," said company spokesman Russ Knocke. "Over the years, we have supported our neighbors at the school with considerable financial and in-kind contributions, as well as various sustainability education programs.
"We are in the process of preparing a formal response to the district. We anticipate submitting our response in June and will address each notice at that time."