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AB 777 Expands Prohibitions at Stringfellow Acid Pits

Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, who represents the 58th Assembly District, introduced AB 777 to further expand prohibitions at the Stringfellow Acid Pits. This was in direct response to
the discovery that hazardous materials from the Exide Battery Plant site in Los Angeles County had been transported to the site. After receiving bipartisan support in the Legislature, the bill was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom September 8th.

The Stringfellow Acid Pits, also known as the Stringfellow Quarry Waste Pits, are located on a 20-acre site in Pyrite Canyon in Jurupa Valley. The former liquid hazardous waste disposal facility operated between 1956 and 1972. After almost two decades of dumping, residents began complaining about the health effects and the site was shut down.

Toxic industrial waste, including heavy metals, perchlorate and pesticides had leaked into the groundwater and the community's drinking water supply. After the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act in the early 1980s, Stringfellow was designated a “Superfund” cleanup site by the EPA, and was named the most polluted waste site in California.

Remediation efforts were halted by widespread scandals in the EPA and Reagan administration, and meaningful cleanup efforts did not begin until the 1990s, when community activists and numerous lawsuits propelled the government to take action.

The California Department of Toxic Substances and Control (DTSC) is responsible for the remediation and monitoring on behalf of the state and currently operates two groundwater treatment facilities in Pyrite Canyon and Jurupa Valley. According to the DTSC, the cleanup will take approximately 500 years.

Earlier this year Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, who represents the 58th Assembly District, introduced AB 777 to further expand prohibitions at the Stringfellow site.

CERVANTES: We were made aware that hazardous material from the Exide Battery Plant site in Los Angeles County was transported to the Stringfellow Acid Pits in the city of Jurupa Valley, which is predominantly a Latino underserved community. And so my bill would address this by prohibiting the treatment, the storage, the transfer, or the disposal of any kind of waste, including soil samples generated from any other toxic waste site, at Stringfellow. It is truly outrageous that DTSC would use our Inland Empire communities as a dumping ground for toxic substance from other parts of the state. And so this is in direct response to that. And certainly we want to continue elevating the issues of our region. And we want to make sure that we're providing protection when it comes to environmental justice and advocating for the issues that we care about.

Last week, AB 777 was sent to Governor Gavin Newsom and signed into law September 8th.
For KVCR News, I'm Jessica Greenwell.