Updates scheduled on Whittaker-Bermite cleanup

Signal file photo 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 Valencia in October 2016. Dan Watson/The Signal

The public is invited to hear an update on the 19-year cleanup of nearly 1,000 acres at the heart of the Santa Clarita Valley during a multi-jurisdictional community meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.

The status report on cleanup at Whittaker-Bermite is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. with updates to be presented by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. The meeting takes place in the Century Room, on the first floor.

Anyone unable to attend the mid-afternoon event is reminded of a similar update Wednesday evening sponsored by the local environmental group, Whittaker Bermite Citizens’ Advisory Group.

A recap of the afternoon’s multi-jurisdictional meeting is expected to be presented at the CAG meeting.

The evening meeting takes place at the Santa Clarita United Methodist Church at 26640 Bouquet Canyon Road, beginning at 7 p.m.

Stakeholders attending last year’s multi-jurisdictional meetings said cleanup of the 996 acres would be completed by year’s end.

Delays in processing paperwork and the discovery in late-2018 of a nest belonging to the threatened California gnatcatcher pushed the completion date back an entire year.

Hassan Amini, project manager with the cleanup firm Amec Foster Wheeler, told stakeholders In November 2018 that a biologist monitoring the cleanup spotted evidence of the threatened bird, prompting the shutdown of bulldozers and trucks busy on the site.

A year later, the threat had been removed and Amini reported cleanup crews “mopping up” the land and planting seedlings in places where contaminated soil had been removed.

Crews were grading land that had been churned up, “hydroseeding” and replacing 54,000 cubic yards of soil removed from the site.

Hydroseeding is a way of planting seeds by mixing them with mulch in a smoothie-like solution.

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