due dilligence

As part of our due diligence prior to selecting the Cameron Lane and Beach Boulevard properties for the Navigation Center, the City retained EEC Environmental (EEC) to assess the environmental conditions of both sites.  The fact sheet below summarizes EEC’s findings, in addition to the Orange County Health Care Agency’s (OCHCA) recommended mitigation measures to safely move forward with the Navigation Center project. 

As required under SCAQMD Rule 1466, the City has been monitoring the concentration of dust associated with site grading and earthwork on the sites.  A weekly report of the 2-hour average concentration of dust is available below:

Environmental fact sheet


The County of Orange (County) and the City of Huntington Beach (City) partnered on a joint project to establish a navigation center on two adjacent parcels located at 17631 Cameron Lane / 17642 Beach Boulevard (Site).  Under this partnership project, the City constructed a 174-bed shelter facility on 1.6 acres of land.  The homeless navigation center is being managed by Mercy House, an experienced homeless shelter operator.  

Navigation Center Outreach Meetings To Be Held In September 2020

In early September 2020, the City of Huntington Beach coordinated a series of 3 outreach webinars to answer questions and provide details related to the construction and operations of the shelter.  Recordings of these webinars are now available on the Navigation Center Updates page.

Environmental Concerns Raised Regarding The Project Site

EEC Environmental (EEC) has been retained by the City to provide environmental oversight of the County’s construction activities.  The City has been notified that incomplete / incorrect rumors about environmental conditions at the Site have been distributed through various social media platforms.  In response, EEC and the City have prepared a fact sheet to provide information to the public related to environmental activities conducted at the Site.

What Regulatory Agency Is Responsible For Overseeing The Environmental Reviews For The Site?

The Environmental Health Division of the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) is the regulatory entity overseeing all environmental remediation efforts at the Site.  Of note, OCHCA was deemed the lead regulatory agency only after the State Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Regional Water Quality Control Board reviewed initial environmental information related to the Site, and determined that remediation efforts could be handled at the County level.  South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) also has permitting and oversight responsibilities for portions of the project.

Have Environmental Reviews Of The Site Already Been Coordinated?

Yes, EEC has completed extensive environmental review of the Site, which was historically used for residential and agricultural purposes.  On March 18, 2020, EEC completed a Phase I ESA for the Site.  Then, between April 6 and July 21, 2020, EEC performed a multi-phase site-investigation to determine the extent of environmental impacts at the Site.  All of those environmental findings were provided to OCHCA for review and comments, and in response to the submittals, OCHCA issued letters on May 22, 2020 and August 21, 2020, approving the proposed redevelopment of the Site for use as a homeless navigation shelter.  In those determinations, OCHCA concluded that impacted soil at the Site will not be a threat for the planned shelter use following the installation of the asphalt cap.  The OCHCA letters and associated testing data can be found above.

What Type Of Environmental Review Was Performed On The Site?

The environmental review conducted by EEC included completion of a geophysical survey, used to identify buried materials in the subsurface, and the advancement of a total of 52 soil borings for the collection of soil samples which were sent to a State of California certified laboratory for analysis. Borings were advanced to depths ranging from approximately 0.5 to 24 feet below ground surface (bgs), the approximate depth of groundwater beneath the Site.

What Did The Environmental Review Find Regarding The Soil On The Site?

Laboratory analysis indicated that soil at the Site was impacted with lead, pesticides, and hexavalent chromium. These constituents were detected at multiple locations at the Site above regulatory screening levels, however, it should be noted that not all analyzed soil samples contained these constituents at elevated levels.

What Is Hex Chrome And Where Did It Come From?

Chromium is a naturally occurring element. It occurs in the environment in two forms: trivalent chromium (Cr III), which is natural and an essential nutrient in small amounts, and hexavalent chromium (Cr IV), which is most commonly produced by industrial processes and is toxic to humans. Health effects can include damage to the respiratory tract (such as bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia) and gastrointestinal and neurological effects from inhalation exposure. Typically, hex chrome is found from heavy industrial uses, such as ore refining, chemical processing, and chrome plating. It is unclear as to why it is on this Site.

What Type Of Construction Work Is Occurring On The Site, And What Mitigations Are Being Instituted?

Construction activities included grading and utilities installations for the homeless navigation shelter, along with the installation of a 4-inch asphalt cap over the entire site. Given the environmental findings, all OCHCA-directed construction mitigations were implemented, which include:

  • Dust control measures required by Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Rule 1466.
  • Air sampling while construction activity was occurring, with both up-wind and down-wind samples collected every 30 minutes or less.
  • A wide variety of permits including, but not limited to, AQMD Rule 1466 notification, grading permits, stockpile permit, etc.

Have The Responsible Regulatory Agency’s Signed-Off On The Construction Activity As Being Safe?

Yes, OCHCA identified a mitigation plan for the Site that is designed to keep the area safe while construction activities are occurring. The City hired environmental professionals at EEC to ensure that the County’s construction activities meets OCHCA requirements, along with South Coast AQMD Rule 1466.

Will Soil Contaminants Be A Risk To Those Living And Working At The Future Homeless Navigation Site?

No, OCHCA concluded that the installation of the asphalt cap removes soil contamination threats to those living and working at the planned homeless navigation center.

If I Have Any Environmental Questions Or Concerns, Who Can I Call?

If you have any environmental questions regarding the construction activity at the Site, please contact David Bernier, EEC Vice President and Principal Geologist, at (714) 667-2300 or [email protected].