Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
EPA #: CAD009688052
Congressional District: 23
EPA has completed planned environmental testing and is now evaluating site cleanup options, including reuse of the wastes. The more than 700,000 cubic yards of waste at the site consist largely of alumina and other metal-rich compounds. A cleanup proposal is expected in 2018 or 2019.
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Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 03/07/07
Final Date: 09/19/07
The Halaco site (Site) is located in coastal Ventura County at 6200 Perkins Road, Oxnard, CA 93033. Halaco Engineering Company operated a secondary metal smelter at the site from 1965 to 2004, recovering aluminum, magnesium, and zinc from dross, castings, cans, car parts, and other scrap metal. The Site includes an 11-acre area containing the former smelter, and an adjacent 26-acre waste management area where wastes were deposited. The Site includes a portion of the Ormond Beach wetlands, one of the few remaining wetlands in the area and home to several endangered or threatened species.
During its 40 years of operation, Halaco produced a large quantity of waste (i.e., slag) containing residual metals from the smelting process. From about 1965 to 1970, Halaco discharged waste into unlined settling ponds in or adjacent to the Oxnard Industrial Drain. From about 1970 to 2002, Halaco deposited wastes into unlined earthen settling ponds east of the smelter. More than 700,000 cubic yards of waste remain on-site.
- In 2002, Halaco filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2006, after Halaco ceased its operations, the bankruptcy was converted to a Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy. Members of the Haack family retain ownership of the 11-acre smelter area, but in 2006, Alpha and Omega Development LLC purchased the 26-acre waste management area. Future use of the properties remains uncertain.
Contaminants and Risks
- Surface Water
- Soil and Sludges
- Environmentally Sensitive Area
Most waste remains on-site, including more than 700,000 cubic yards in the waste management area and an estimated 50,000 cubic yards buried in the eastern side of the 11-acre area where the smelter operated. Elevated levels of aluminum, barium, beryllium, chromium, copper, lead, magnesium, and zinc are present in the wastes and in some affected soils and sediments. Several areas also contain elevated levels of thorium and radium. Waste material has moved into the underlying groundwater and sediments in a portion of the Ormond Beach lagoon.
Who is Involved
EPA added the Site to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) on September 19, 2007.
February 2006: The State of California sent a letter to EPA titled "Halaco Request for Federal Action" (see "Legal Documents" below).
July 2006: EPA reached agreement with site owners to conduct a "removal action" to remove drums and other hazardous substances, fence the waste pile, and install a silt curtain and straw wattles. The agreement is titled "Halaco Administrative Settlement Agreement and Consent Order" (see "Legal Documents" below).
January 2007: The State of California supported adding the Halaco Site to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).
March - June 2007: EPA and its contractors implemented additional measures to stabilize and secure the Site and limit off-site migration of contaminated wastes. The work included re-grading the waste pile to reduce the steepness of its slopes, placing erosion control matting over the wastes, moving waste material from the smelter parcel to the waste management area, and improving Site security. Some Halaco waste material in the wetland area to the south of the smelter parcel was excavated and moved to the waste management area.
For more information on the stabilization efforts completed in 2006-2007, go to: http://www.epaosc.net/halaco
2007 - 2009: After adding the Site to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in September 2007, EPA began its Remedial Investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the Site, identify human health and ecological risks posed by the contamination, and identify areas needing remediation. In February 2009, EPA distributed a "Preliminary Plan for Additional Sampling and Analysis Activities" and two preliminary site studies (described below). This plan summarizes historical information on environmental conditions at the Site and identifies “data gaps” that must be addressed before remediation can occur.
February - March 2010: EPA demolished two abandoned industrial buildings at the Site in accordance with the "action memo" signed in January 2010. The two buildings were used by Halaco Engineering Co. until 2004. The buildings were in poor condition, and portions of the buildings were at risk of collapse. More details on the condition of the buildings and the levels of contamination inside the buildings are available in the Structural Evaluation Report and the Halaco Buildings Removal Assessment, available in the “Documents and Reports” section below, under "Technical Documents." Photos of the demolition effort and progress reports prepared while the work was underway are available on EPA's website at: http://www.epaosc.org/HALACOSTRUCTURES
Ongoing: EPA has been working with the property owners and interested community members to improve site security and maintain the improvements made by EPA in 2007 to limit off-site migration of wastes.
From 1970 - 2004: Various State, local and Federal agencies sampled and chemically analyzed soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, and/or air at and near the Site.
2006: EPA collected and analyzed approximately 129 soil, sediment, and waste samples, 10 surface water samples, 14 groundwater samples, and 35 air samples as part of its site assessment and stabilization efforts. Results are summarized in the January 10, 2007, "Integrated Assessment" report (see "Technical Documents" below).
June 2007: EPA completed additional testing to determine the levels of thorium and radium in waste materials buried in the southeast corner of the former smelter.
2007 - 2008: EPA prepared the "EPA Testing Plan for the Halaco Superfund Site" (see "Technical Documents" below), which summarizes information on Halaco's operations and waste disposal practices, summarizes past testing in each of more than 16 areas of the Site, compares past test results to human health and ecological screening levels for contaminated soils and sediments, and proposes soil testing, water testing, and other sampling and analysis activities intended to provide information needed to complete the Remedial Investigation.
2007: EPA completed a preliminary study of surface water and groundwater movement at and near the Site to better determine the extent and movement of Halaco's wastes, and a screening-level assessment of human health and environmental risks posed by Site related contamination. See "Technical Documents" below. The studies are part of the "Remedial Investigation" of the Site.
2009: The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) completed a draft report summarizing its investigation of the public health implications of exposure to contamination from the Halaco Site. Key findings were that activities that create a lot of dust (e.g., dirt bike riding in contaminated areas) pose a public health concern but that the following exposure pathways pose no public health concern:
- Exposure to the soil in the nearby agricultural fields and neighborhoods.
- Short-term exposure when trespassing on the Halaco site.
- Visiting the Nature Conservancy Land, Ormond Beach, or the wetlands.
- Swimming in the Oxnard Industrial Drain.
2009-2010: EPA completed an Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) and proposed demolition of two abandoned industrial buildings at the Site. The evaluation made use of data collected during several days of testing inside the buildings in October 2009 (summarized in the "Building Assessment Report"). After considering public comments on its EE/CA report, EPA decided to proceed with the demolition work. The EE/CA report, Building Assessment Report, EPA’s response to comments, and its decision to proceed with the removal (the "Action Memorandum") are available below in the “Documents and Reports Section.” The demolition work was completed in March 2010.
2009 - 2013: From October 2009 through 2011, EPA completed a major field effort that included soil, soil gas, sediment, groundwater, and surface water testing needed to fill data gaps related to the sources, nature, extent, and movement of contamination at the Site. The objectives of the testing included:
- determining if contaminants other than metals are present in Halaco’s wastes;
- determining the extent to which waste materials are in contact with surface or groundwater;
- evaluating the potential for the production of ammonia and other gases in the waste areas;
- delineating the extent of contamination in the Nature Conservancy properties, the Oxnard Industrial Drain, and the Ormond Beach lagoon;
- identifying any other areas adjacent to the Halaco properties contaminated by Halaco’s operations; and
- determining the extent of groundwater contamination resulting from Halaco’s waste disposal practices.
Between 2011 and 2014, EPA completed a series of six reports summarizing the results of the testing. The reports, available in the "Documents and Reports" section below, describe testing completed on:
- 1) The Nature Conservancy (TNC) properties to the east and north of the Halaco waste pile;
2-3) The wetlands and beach to the south of the Halaco Properties (two reports);
4) Sediments in the Oxnard Industrial Drain (OID) and lagoon;
5) The Halaco properties; and
6) Surface water and groundwater at the site.
2011 - 2015. In June 2011, EPA and its contractors completed a focused field effort to collect data needed to better evaluate risks to birds, fish and other wildlife at the site and identify cleanup levels for contaminated soils and sediments. The assessment included the collection and laboratory analysis of invertebrate and fish tissue, laboratory analysis of co-located soil and sediment samples, sediment toxicity testing ("bioassays"), and bioaccumulation modeling. The results are summarized in a September 2015 report titled "Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment, Remedial Investigation, Halaco Superfund Site." The report is available in the Documents and Reports section below.
2013-2014: In late 2013, EPA completed a supplemental groundwater investigation to the north of the Halaco Properties to determine the northern extent of groundwater contamination and factors affecting the movement of contaminated groundwater across the Site. The investigation included the installation and sampling of additional groundwater monitoring wells. A report providing the results of this effort was completed in June 2014. The report is available in the Documents and Reports section below.
Ongoing: EPA is evaluating cleanup options for contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater at the site, including reuse of the waste materials and excavation of contaminated soils and sediments in less contaminated parts of the site. A technical memorandum summarizing the results of bench-scale laboratory tests conducted in 2012 and 2013 to reduce the chloride content of the waste and make the waste more attractive for reuse is included in the Documents and Reports section below. Additional testing is expected to begin in late 2017 to evaluate the cost and feasibility of beneficially using the waste as a partial substitute for Portland cement in ready-mix concrete. The testing is expected to continue into 2018. Cleanup is likely to be needed at the smelter property, the waste management area, the Nature Conservancy property, the lagoon area, and the groundwater. A cleanup proposal is expected in 2018 or 2019.
Potentially Responsible Parties
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.
EPA has identified the following parties as PRPs at the Site: Clarence W. Haack (former owner and operator); the Clarence W. Haack Living Trust (current owner); John M. Haack (current owner); Robert D. Haack (current owner); John David Gable (former operator); and MagPro, Limited Liability Company (successor to Halaco). The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of EPA and other Federal agencies, filed a proof of claim in the Halaco bankruptcy that resulted in recovery of a portion of EPA's past environmental response costs at the Site.
Documents and Reports
Public Meetings: EPA representatives have provided updates on the Halaco Site at meetings of the Ormond Beach Task Force (Mar 2007, June 2008, Jan 2009, Sept 2009, Nov 2010, Mar 2011, Sept 2011, Oct 2013, March 2015), at an EPA-organized public meeting in the City of Oxnard (Sept 2007), to the Port Hueneme City Council (Oct 2007, Oct 2008), to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors (Oct 2007), at the South Oxnard Revitalization Committee (Jan 2009), to the Oxnard City Council (Mar 2009), at a joint EPA-CA Department of Public Health public meeting in Oxnard (Mar 2009), and to representatives of the His Dream Fulfilled Center and CAUSE (Jan 2010).
Community Involvement Plan: In January 2008, EPA interviewed 27 community members to support development of a Community Involvement Plan for the Halaco site. English and Spanish language versions of the Plan are available by clicking on "Halaco Community Involvement Plan" above.
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
South Oxnard Library Branch
4300 Saviers Road
Oxnard, CA. 93033
Monday - Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
EPA Site Manager
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
After Hours (Emergency Response)