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Guide to the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site collection
148  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Historical Background
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site collection
    Date (inclusive): 1951-2009, undated.
    Date (bulk): 1972-1987
    Collection Number: 148
    Accumulator: Rivera Library. Special Collections Dept.
    Extent: 44.5 linear feet (4 document boxes; 34 record storage boxes)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: The Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site collection contains technical reports, media clippings, correspondence, public records, ephemera, notes, government publications, photographs, and other material regarding the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site, a Class I industrial waste disposal facility in Glen Avon, California, that operated from August 1956 to November 1972. Materials also document the community activism of Glen Avon resident Ruth Kirkby. Topics covered by the records include site pollution, contamination of local groundwater, local, state, and federal government cleanup efforts, and the political activities of Ruth Kirkby.
    Languages: The collection is in English.

    Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item]. Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site collection, Collection 148. University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Acquisition Information

    The Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site collection is comprised of two accessions. Series one and two were acquired as a gift circa 1995. Series three was acquired as a gift in 2009.

    Processing History

    This collection was processed by Sara Seltzer, 2011.
    Processing of the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site collection was generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The University of California, Riverside was awarded a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from 2010-2012, "Uncovering California's Environmental Collections," in collaboration with eight additional special collections and archival repositories throughout the state and the California Digital Library (CDL). Grant objectives included the processing of over 33 hidden collections related to the state's environment and environmental history. The collections document an array of important subtopics such as irrigation, mining, forestry, agriculture, industry, land use, activism, and research. Together they form a multifaceted picture of the natural world and the way it was probed, altered, exploited, and protected in California over the twentieth century. Finding aids are made available through the Online Archive of California (OAC).

    Historical Background

    Located in Riverside County approximately five miles northwest of the City of Riverside and one mile north of the community of Glen Avon, the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site occupies 17 acres at the head of Pyrite Canyon in the Jurupa Mountains. Commonly referred to as the Stringfellow Acid Pits, the site functioned as a Class I industrial waste disposal facility permitted by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) from August 1956 to November 1972. In 1955, the RWQCB contacted James B. Stringfellow, owner of the Stringfellow Quarry Company, to discuss the creation of an industrial waste dump on a portion of his company's land in the Jurupa Mountains. Following a report by the State Division of Water Resources approving use of the site, Stringfellow agreed to the proposal, and the dumping of toxic wastes commenced in 1956. Approximately 34 million gallons of industrial wastes, which belonged to some of the most high-profile American companies and contained over 200 hazardous chemicals, were disposed of over the course of the site's 16-year operation.
    In 1969, excessive rainfall caused the reservoirs at the facility, known as evaporation ponds, to overflow into Glen Avon. That same year, Parents of Jurupa, Inc., a non-profit corporation comprised of Glen Avon residents, was established with the goal of permanently closing and cleaning up the Stringfellow site, which was believed to be the cause of many health problems in the community. Due in part to the lobbying efforts of the organization, the site officially ceased operation in November of 1972 and permanently closed the following month. The facility's state permit was revoked as a result of waste-discharge violations, and management of the site subsequently passed from the Stringfellow Quarry Company to Riverside County in 1974, with operational responsibility assigned to the RWQCB. Responsibility later passed to the California Department of Health Services (DOHS) in 1981.
    In 1980, the United States Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, which established a $1.6 billion trust fund known as the "Superfund" for the emergency cleanup of chemical spills and hazardous waste dumps in the U.S. The Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site was officially placed on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (US EPA) Superfund national priority list in 1983. By that time, contaminants had already moved into the local groundwater supply in Glen Avon, requiring residents to ultimately receive water from public utilities. Cleanup efforts were jointly managed by the US EPA and the DOHS Toxic Substances Control Division (later Department). According to the US EPA, Region IX website, the site cleanup process has progressed in five phases: an initial action phase (1980-1984) and four long-term remedial action phases (1984-present). The latter phases include the installation of a pre-treatment plant, contaminant source control, the cleanup of the lower canyon, and the hydraulic control and cleanup of the contamination affecting the community water supply wells. The site is geographically divided into four zones as follows: Zone 1 - On-site/Upper Mid-Canyon Area, Zone 2 - Mid-Canyon Area, Zone 3 - Lower Canyon Area, and Zone 4 - Glen Avon Community.
    Since 1996, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, a branch of the California Environmental Protection Agency, has maintained operational control at Stringfellow, with the US EPA serving as an oversight agency. Treatment of the hazardous waste site is ongoing.

    Chronology

    1955: James B. Stringfellow, owner of the Stringfellow Quarry Company, was contacted by California officials to discuss the creation of a 17-acre hazardous waste dump on his property.
    1956: In August, Stringfellow began operating a class I hazardous waste disposal facility permitted by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB).
    1969: Excessive rainfall caused the disposal ponds at Stringfellow to overflow into Glen Avon.
      Parents of Jurupa, Inc., a non-profit corporation of Glen Avon residents, was established with the goal of closing down the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site.
    1972: The Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site ceased operation as a disposal facility in November, and closed permanently in December.
    1974: The State of California gained control of the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site, with the RWQCB serving as the responsible party.
    1978: Excessive rainfall caused the disposal ponds at Stringfellow to overflow into Glen Avon a second time.
    1980: The United States Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. Known as the "Superfund," the Act provided $1.6 billion for the emergency cleanup of chemical spills and hazardous waste dumps.
    1981: Responsibility for the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site passed from the RWQCB to the California Department of Health Services (DOHS).
    1983: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) officially placed the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site on the national priority list for the federal Superfund.
    1984-Present: Cleanup activities, jointly managed by the US EPA and DOHS Toxic Substances Control Division, began at the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site. Treatment is ongoing.
    1996: The Department of Toxic Substances Control, a branch of the California Environmental Protection Agency, assumed operational control at Stringfellow, with the US EPA serving as an oversight agency.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    The Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site collection contains technical reports, media clippings, correspondence, public records, ephemera, notes, government publications, photographs, and other material regarding the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site, a Class I industrial waste disposal facility in Glen Avon, California, that operated from August 1956 to November 1972. Materials also document the community activism of Glen Avon resident Ruth Kirkby. Media clippings document local news coverage of the site and are primarily from Riverside County and Los Angeles County newspapers. The Ruth Kirkby papers capture the political agency exercised by Kirkby on behalf of the Glen Avon community. Papers pertain to Kirkby's involvement with entities aimed at eradicating the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site, and her active pursuit of records documenting the Stringfellow Quarry Company's activities in Riverside County. Field studies, treatments, and other projects undertaken by local, state, federal, and private agencies at the site are recorded in technical reports.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged into three series and five sub-series. The series and sub-series arrangement is as follows:
    • Series 1. Media clippings, 1960-1987, undated.
    • Series 2. Ruth Kirkby papers, 1951-2005, undated.
    • Series 3. Technical reports, 1983-2009.
    • Sub-series 3.1. California Department of Health Services. Toxic Substances Control Division, 1984-1993.
    • Sub-series 3.2. California Environmental Protection Agency. Department of Toxic Substances Control, 1996-2009.
    • Sub-series 3.3. Pyrite Canyon Group, Inc., 1991-circa 2000.
    • Sub-series 3.4. Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, 1984.
    • Sub-series 3.5. United States Environmental Protection Agency (Region IX) and other federal agencies, 1983-2006.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    California. Dept. of Health Services. Toxic Substances Control Division.
    California Environmental Protection Agency. Dept. of Toxic Substances Control.
    Glen Avon (Calif.).
    Hazardous waste site remediation.
    Hazardous waste treatment facilities.
    Kirkby, Ruth, 1914-2007
    Parents of Jurupa, Inc.
    Pyrite Canyon Group.
    Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (Calif.).
    Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site (Calif.).
    Superfund Program (U.S.).
    Uncovering California's Environmental Collections Project.
    United States. Environmental Protection Agency. Region IX.

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Clippings (information artifacts).
    Compact discs.
    Correspondence.
    Ephemera.
    Notes.
    Photocopies.
    Photographs.
    Public records.
    Reports.