SCAQMD Takes Steps to Reduce Toxic Emissions at Hixson Metal in Newport Beach

April 1, 2014

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is seeking an order from its independent Hearing Board to require a metal finishing facility in Newport Beach to reduce its toxic emissions and risk to the community on an expedited schedule.

SCAQMD air monitoring data has shown Hixson Metal Finishing, a chrome plating and anodizing facility at 817-853 Production Pl. in Newport Beach, to be the source of elevated levels of hexavalent chromium. Hexavalent chromium is a compound released during metal plating and finishing operations and is a known human carcinogen.

“Hixson has taken steps in the past to reduce its emissions however more work needs to be done,” said Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “Additional pollution controls will be required quickly.”

SCAQMD is filing for an Order for Abatement with the SCAQMD Hearing Board to ensure that the company takes all necessary steps to reduce its emissions.

SCAQMD has monitored outdoor levels of hexavalent chromium for several years at two locations near Hixson: across the street at the Robert A. Millet Co. at 834 Production Pl., and on the roof of a carport at Newport Villa Apartments, immediately south of Hixson at 1549 Placentia Ave.

Based on ambient chromium levels measured in 2012 and 2013, and assuming a 70-year exposure, the incremental cancer risk at the Newport Villa carport ranges from 330 to 375 in 1 million. The incremental cancer risk at the Millet site ranges from 490 to 540 in 1 million. SCAQMD’s regulations require facilities to notify the public if their cancer risk exceeds 10 in 1 million and to reduce their risk if it exceeds 25 in 1 million.

The SCAQMD has worked with the facility to reduce its emissions by moving scuffing operations into a double-contained room equipped with a spray booth and high-efficiency particulate filters, in addition to other mitigation measures. SCAQMD officials also have conducted dozens of inspections to assess possible sources of emissions at the facility.

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