Jurupa Valley demands state remove toxic soil from LA County battery plant

Jurupa Valley says state agency illegally stored 500K lbs of contaminated material at acid pits site

Los Angeles /
Jul.July 07, 2022 02:00 PM
Jurupa Valley Mayor Chris Barajas and Stringfellow acid pits, north of the 60 Freeway along Pyrite Street (US EPA, iStock, City of Jurupa Valley)
Jurupa Valley Mayor Chris Barajas and Stringfellow acid pits, north of the 60 Freeway along Pyrite Street (US EPA, iStock, City of Jurupa Valley)

A state agency whisked 500,000 pounds of contaminated lead soil from around a defunct battery plant in L.A. County to a toxic waste dump in the Inland Empire. A local city says, Not in our backyard.

The city of Jurupa Valley has demanded the Department of Toxic Substances Control remove the half dozen shipping containers of contaminated soil it says came from the former Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. The material is now stored at the Stringfellow acid pits in the hills north of the 60 Freeway.

The agency plans to ship four more containers of contaminated soil to the infamous dump, according to a letter to the agency signed by Mayor Chris Barajas.

“The City of Jurupa Valley strongly objects to this blatantly illegal action by DTSC,” Barajas wrote, demanding that the material be removed immediately.

The state toxics regulator claims the contaminated soil samples weren’t removed from the Exide plant, but came from properties surrounding the facility.

Allison Wescott, a spokeswoman for the agency, said the samples are being preserved for the department’s litigation against former operators and owners of the Exide plant.

They are “in sealed jars within six locked shipping containers in a parking lot within the fenced Stringfellow site,” she said in a statement, adding that the samples have been there since 2018. Four more containers will arrive at the Stringfellow site by the end of the month, she said, while additional containers will hold samples collected from Vernon residences.

“When litigation is complete, and the samples can be disposed of, they will be transported to approved and certified waste landfills,” Wescott said.

The former Exide Technologies plant in Vernon contaminated thousands of properties in surrounding neighborhoods, and now is the subject of a state-ordered cleanup.

Stringfellow is a former rock quarry used to dump 33 million gallons of toxic industrial waste from 1956 to 1970. Groundwater contamination spread, threatening drinking-water wells and the Santa Ana River.

Now a Superfund site, the 17-acre acid pits are undergoing an environmental cleanup. It could take up to 400 years, regulators say.

Barajas, citing a state law stipulating that the Stringfellow dump can only be used to treat and store hazardous materials from that site, says the Vernon soil is illegal and wants it gone. More than 70 percent of the 105,000 residents living in nearby Jurupa are Latino.

There’s “no clearer violation of the principles of environmental justice” than to store hazardous waste “in a predominantly low-income, minority community,” Barajas said.

State Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside, sent a letter in support of the city’s request to California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. The DTSC is a division of Cal EPA.

The storage concerns come as the city is developing a tourist-and-leisure zone with hotels, restaurants and entertainment on the north side of the 60 Freeway at Pyrite Street. City Manager Rod Butler said he doesn’t believe the storage of contaminated soil will derail or delay the North Pyrite Master Plan, which could be completed by fall.

[Riverside Press-Enterprise] – Dana Bartholomew





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Cherry Valley Boulevard logistics center (Getty, Shopoff Realty Investments)
    Fast fashion titan Shein to open 1.8M sf distribution hub in Inland Empire
    Fast fashion titan Shein to open 1.8M sf distribution hub in Inland Empire
    Los Angeles
    Rents rise across US, but fall in Greater LA, study finds
    Rents rise across US, but fall in Greater LA, study finds
    Prologis' Hamid Moghadam, Duke Realtys Jim Connor, Home Depot's Edward Decker; 13131 Los Angeles Street in Irwindale (Prologis, Duke Realty, Home Depot, Getty)
    Have 1M sf to fill? Home Depot can help
    Have 1M sf to fill? Home Depot can help
    From left: Blackstone’s  Kathleen McCarthy, Silver State Real Estate's Harshad Dharod, and Blackstone's Kenneth Caplan with  3610 Banbury Drive (Blackstone, Silver Star, The Foto Finisher)
    Blackstone sells Riverside apartment complex for $102M
    Blackstone sells Riverside apartment complex for $102M
    Seritage's Andrea Olshan and renderings on 3001 Iowa Avenue (LinkedIn, Getty, "Architecture. Design. Relationships")
    Seritage sells former Kmart site in Riverside
    Seritage sells former Kmart site in Riverside
    Duke Realty's James Connor (Duke Realty, Getty, Google Maps)
    Duke Realty shells out nearly $100M for empty land in the Inland Empire
    Duke Realty shells out nearly $100M for empty land in the Inland Empire
    Prologis ceo Hamid Moghadam and DHL Supply Chain ceo Oscar de Bok with 5351 Jurupa Street (Prologis, Supply Chain Digital, Loopnet, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
    Prologis lease doubles Inland Empire footprint for supply chain firm
    Prologis lease doubles Inland Empire footprint for supply chain firm
    Rexford CEOs Howard Schwimmer and Michael Frankel with recent acquisition at 3935-3949 Heritage Oak Court in Simi Valley (Rexford Industrial, Google Maps, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
    Rexford extends industrial buying spree
    Rexford extends industrial buying spree
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...