Hixson Metal Finishing

Background & Facility Information

Hixson Metal Finishing (Facility ID: 011818) has operated in Newport Beach, California since 1958, and is a metal finishing facility that conducts anodizing, testing, plating, coating, and painting operations on various parts for use in the aerospace and defense industries.  The facility is located at 817-853 Production Place, Newport Beach, CA 92663.  Hixson operates various types of equipment that are subject to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) rules and regulations and permit requirements.
Some of the potential onsite sources of emissions include the chrome anodizing line, nickel and cadmium plating, curing and drying ovens, paint spray booths, abrasive blasting equipment, waste water treatment system and miscellaneous natural gas combustion sources. In addition, equipment such as, tanks, racks, and drums and operations such as, packaging, product transfer, and maintenance and cleaning activities may have the potential to contribute to fugitive emissions.  The primary air quality concern with Hixson’s operation is hexavalent chromium (Cr VI) emissions.

2008-2011 Activities

As a result of a basin wide air toxics monitoring program and study conducted by SCAQMD (Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study or MATES III), higher than average levels of Cr VI were detected in the general area surrounding Hixson’s facility.  SCAQMD installed an ambient monitoring station near Hixson and began monitoring for Cr VI.  In late 2010 and early 2011, SCAQMD staff noted an increase in Cr VI levels, so the SCAQMD satff issued two Prop. 65 notices in January and April 2011 notifying the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Orange County Environmental Health and Orange County Health Officer of the high Cr VI emissions and the health risks associated with such emissions.  SCAQMD then installed a second ambient monitoring station in February 2011 to better assess Cr VI levels in the air and requested that Hixson implement additional air pollution control strategies to better control emissions.  In 2011, SCAQMD staff conducted a total of 46 facility inspections at Hixson.

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2012-2014 Activities

Despite the SCAQMD efforts and control measures taken by Hixson, the Cr VI detected at the offsite monitors continued to stay at levels that were of concern to SCAQMD after 2011.  When Cr VI levels began to increase again in early 2014, SCAQMD staff issued a third Prop. 65 notice and conducted an extensive series of facility inspections.  The SCAQMD staff performed emission source tests and installed five (5) additional ambient monitoring stations inside the Hixson facility to better identify the sources of Cr VI emissions at Hixson.  As a result of facility inspections, SCAQMD staff issued several Notices of Violations to Hixson in April 2014 and required Hixson to prepare and submit to SCAQMD a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and a Risk Reduction Plan (RRP).  SCAQMD also filed a petition with the SCAQMD Hearing Board seeking an Order of Abatement, which was issued in May 2014.  Hixson and the District agreed to the terms and conditions for an Order for Abatement.  After a hearing on the merits of the case, the Hearing Board issued the order as a Stipulated Order for Abatement.  The Order of Abatement requires implementation of additional air pollution control systems and requires Hixson to cease operating their tanks containing chromium solutions whenever the off-site seven days average Cr VI concentrations exceed a specified level.  In 2014, SCAQMD staff conducted a total of 120 facility inspections at Hixson.


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2015 Activities

Hixson submitted their HRA to SCAQMD in November 2014, however Hixson did not submit the RRP on time and SCAQMD staff issued Hixson another Notice of Violation in February 2015.  Hixson subsequently submitted their proposed RRP in March 2015.  Upon detailed review and upon use of recently updated risk assessment guidelines put forward by the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) on May 8, 2015, SCAQMD staff finalized Hixson’s HRA.  Since the HRA results were above thresholds established in SCAQMD Rule 1402, Hixson was required to notify the surrounding community about the health risk caused by their Cr VI emissions.  SCAQMD staff held a community meeting at Hoag Hospital on June 17, 2015 to explain the impact of Hixson's Cr VI emissions on public health and to discuss next steps.  Hixson also provided a presentation of their facility's operations at this meeting.

SCAQMD staff rejected Hixson’s first two draft RRPs dated March 2015 and June 2015, deeming them inadequate, and directed Hixson to revise their RRP to improve the control measures.  Hixson resubmitted the revised RRP on July 1, 2015, and SCAQMD staff conditionally approved it onJuly 24, 2015.  The RRP requires that Hixson begin implementing control measures immediately and have all control measures in place by the end of March 2016.

SCAQMD staff has so far conducted 75 facility inspections at Hixson between January and mid May of 2015 and will continue to inspect Hixson and conduct air monitoring near Hixson to evaluate Cr VI levels from the facility.  SCAQMD will take all necessary steps to require Hixson to reduce its toxic emissions and the associated health risk to the community.  SCAQMD also intends to file another petition with the SCAQMD Hearing Board to modify the current Stipulated Order of Abatement to require Hixson to implement additional control measures to reduce its emissions as expeditiously as possible.


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Public Notification Meeting

Health Risk Assessment and Risk Reduction Documents

Additional Information 

Page Modified February 12, 2016
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