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SCAQMD Seeks Order To Reduce Toxic Emissions At Newport Beach Metal Finishing Facility

NEWPORT BEACH ( — Southland's air-quality management agency is seeking an order to require a Newport Beach metal finishing facility to reduce its toxic emissions on an expedited schedule.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District announced Tuesday it was seeking the order from its independent hearing board after data showed Hixson Metal Finishing is the source of elevated levels of hexavalent chromium, a compound released during metal plating and finishing operations and a known human carcinogen.

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

The agency said in a press release it is filing for an Order for Abatement with the SCAQMD Hearing Board to ensure Hixson takes all necessary steps to reduce its emissions.

SCAQMD said it has monitored outdoor levels of hexavalent chromium for several years at two locations near Hixson, including across the street at the Robert A. Millet Co., located at 834 Production Place, as well as on the roof of a carport at Newport Villa Apartments, immediately south of Hixson at 1549 Placentia Avenue.

An agency spokesperson said the incremental cancer risk at the Newport Villa carport ranges from 330 to 375 in 1 million based on ambient chromium levels measured in 2012 and 2013, and assuming a 70-year exposure.

The incremental cancer risk at the Millet site ranges from 490 to 540 in 1 million, according to their data.

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.

Hixson President Douglas C. Greene told City News Service the company's executives are not sure if the plant is the sole source of the emissions, however, the company says it will fully cooperate with regulatory officials.

"We're on the same team as them. If they have an issue we have an issue. We recognize and understand they have a serious job to do and we support that," he said.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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