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October 24
1992 - Dedication of Santa Clarita's first Metrolink station (Santa Clarita Station) [brochure]
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| Monday, Jul 15, 2019
whittaker-bermite aerial view, 2008
An aerial view of soil excavation and treatment in progress at the Whittaker-Bermite site just west of Golden Valley Road in April 2008. Photo: Stephen K. Peeples.

 

After more than a decade, the Whittaker-Bermite cleanup reached a significant milestone this month as soil remediation efforts in contaminated areas are now complete, according to officials close to the matter.

The nearly 1,000 acres in the Santa Clarita Valley’s center core is clear of toxic material known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, trapped in the soil, said Jose Diaz, senior project manager with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, which supervises the site cleanup performed by the Whittaker Corp.

“It took a number of years,” he said. “This is a significant milestone because obviously there’s a lot of resources and it’s a very expensive process to deal with in getting the site cleaned up and getting it ready for use in the future.”

VOCs are organic chemicals that easily turn to vapors or gases, which are released from burning fuel such as coal, gasoline or natural gas. These chemicals are extremely hazardous as they can cause short- and long-term adverse health effects including eye and respiratory tract irritation and visual disorders, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Whittaker-Bermite property, located south of Saugus Speedway on Soledad Canyon Road, was a working munition manufacturing site up until the 1980s. Its soil was contaminated in certain areas and contamination leaked into the valley’s groundwater.

While soil has been remedied, treatment of health-hazardous perchlorate in the groundwater is estimated to continue for 30 years or more, said Diaz.

The Saugus Aquifer Treatment Plant, built in 2017 on the property next to the Metrolink Train Station on Soledad Canyon Road, will continue to pump and treat water over the next few decades, according to city Senior Planner James Chow.

Some tasks still underway include ongoing maintenance, as well as backfilling and sorting through a landfill to address any potential harm. Completion is expected to take a couple of months, added Chow.

The Whittaker Corp. will also be preparing reports to submit to DTSC as part of a reporting process on soil remediation risk evaluation that will be used to help DTSC determine land use, said Chow.

Empty dump trucks pull into a soil treatment area to pick up clean dirt as viewed on tour of the cleanup efforts of the Whittaker-Bermite site in October 2016. | Photo: Dan Watson/The Signal.

Empty dump trucks pull into a soil treatment area to pick up clean dirt as viewed on tour of the cleanup efforts of the Whittaker-Bermite site in October 2016. | Photo: Dan Watson/The Signal.

Of the undeveloped 996 acres, an estimated 20 acres, or 2%, will be restricted from development for health-sensitive reasons such as for schools, homes or daycares, said Diaz. Other factors for building restrictions include faultlines and an aqueduct in the area.

“It’s all soil management and paperwork at this point,” said Diaz. “Developers want to hear how clean is clean and how much can they use for development but that will come later on. We will ensure that they’re not buying damaged goods.”

On Thursday, a multi-jurisdictional committee, which included members of the Santa Clarita City Council, DTSC and representatives of Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, met at City Hall to hear updates on the cleanup.

“This has been a long time coming, a physical activity costing millions of dollars but a conclusion was reached that a cleanup of the surface soil has been completed to the standards of the Department of Toxic Substances Control,” said Councilman Bob Kellar, who is part of the multi-jurisdictional committee.

“Does this resolve every issue at the Whittaker-Bermite site? No, the contamination of the (groundwater) will continue to be addressed for decades but we have the abilities to do so,” Kellar said. “It’s been a very fine collaborative with the city, the Whittaker Corp., insurance companies and the Castaic Lake Water Agency, now the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency.”

The committee meets quarterly and the next meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at City Hall.

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2 Comments

  1. Dave Rickmers says:

    Some landscaping would go a long way.

  2. Lisa Need says:

    Can’t wait to see how many houses will be built here.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Oct 23, 2020
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 296,821 L.A. County Cases, 7,000 in SCV
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday confirmed 23 new deaths and 2,773 new positive cases of COVID-19, including 56 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday, Oct 23, 2020
Sixth Round of ‘Homekey’ Funding Includes $24M for L.A. County
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a major injection of new Homekey funding made possible by the Legislature to expand and support the state program, helping thousands of families experiencing or at risk of homelessness find permanent, long-term housing solutions.
Friday, Oct 23, 2020
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City of Santa Clarita officials delivered the 2020 State of the City event Thursday in true COVID-19-era format: virtually, while shining a light on local essential workers who have toiled tirelessly since the onset of the pandemic.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1992 - Dedication of Santa Clarita's first Metrolink station (Santa Clarita Station) [brochure]
brochure
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday confirmed 23 new deaths and 2,773 new positive cases of COVID-19, including 56 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 296,821 L.A. County Cases, 7,000 in SCV
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a major injection of new Homekey funding made possible by the Legislature to expand and support the state program, helping thousands of families experiencing or at risk of homelessness find permanent, long-term housing solutions.
Sixth Round of ‘Homekey’ Funding Includes $24M for L.A. County
The Santa Clarita City Council has posted its agenda for a regular meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, October 27.
Oct. 27 Meeting Agenda: Santa Clarita City Council
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City of Santa Clarita Earns National Financial Reporting Award
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will host a National Drug Takeback Day event on Saturday, October 24, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
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City of Santa Clarita officials delivered the 2020 State of the City event Thursday in true COVID-19-era format: virtually, while shining a light on local essential workers who have toiled tirelessly since the onset of the pandemic.
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Parolee, Woman Arrested in Valencia on Felony Drug, Weapon Charges
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Southern Hotel
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Los Angeles County is providing a second opportunity for financial assistance to businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have been allowed to reopen by the State, but ordered to remain closed by the County of Los Angeles Health Officer Order as of Sept. 4, 2020.
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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 18 new deaths and 3,600 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, including 6,944 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley and a new fatality in the city of Santa Clarita.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: 73rd SCV Death; Local Cases Up to 6,944
SCV Water is undertaking multiple planning efforts designed to effectively manage the water supply for our customers, ensuring they have access to reliable water today and tomorrow.
SCV Water Undertaking Multiple Planning Efforts to Enhance Water Reliability
With L.A. County’s Project Roomkey coming close to an end, Bridge to Home officials announced Thursday a new initiative to house more than two dozen local homeless individuals, but it will require help from the community
Bridge to Home’s New Initiative Pledges to House 30 Homeless People by January 5
Santa Clarita Artists Association will hold its last virtual oil workshop of the year on Sunday, Nov. 15, from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., with Rich Gallego, entitled, "Using a Modified Zorn Palette to Create Harmonious Landscapes."
Nov. 15: Last SCAA Virtual Oil Painting Workshop of 2020 with Rich Gallego
The Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center will host a virtual open house event on Friday, Oct. 30 for prospective students interested in earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree through the center’s partner institutions.
Oct. 30: Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center Virtual Open House
Santa Clarita homeless task force members are exploring options to start a local overnight parking program akin to those in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
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The William S. Hart Union High School District will likely not return to campus until January, Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said during the district’s governing board meeting Wednesday.
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