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Ventura County Department of Airports Update to Taxiway Reconstruction Soil Storage

The Ventura County Department of Airports has completed a scheduled taxiway pavement repair project, which began in early April at Oxnard Airport (OXR). The project site included the pavements between the runway and parallel taxiway and the 11-acre site adjacent to Ventura Boulevard owned by the County of Ventura.

The construction took place primarily in the overnight hours due to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) restrictions related to working on an active taxiway. All construction, including stockpiling operations, occurred between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

As part of the project, the Department of Airports addressed concerns in April related to soil that was being stored near OXR. In that communication, the Department reported that, as required by the Los Angeles Region Water Quality Control Board, excess soil was temporarily stockpiled from the taxiway project. Contractors have followed a strict soils management program throughout construction. All work was approved by the Water Quality Control Board.

Earlier this summer, the Department of Airports sought and received approval of a design modification that reduced the amount of soil to be stockpiled. With the construction phase of the project now complete, contractors will work to consolidate the existing stockpiles of soil for better maintenance and management. Consolidation will begin on Tuesday, September 5th, and will continue throughout the week. All work will continue to be monitored and maintained in accordance with Water Quality Control Board requirements.

Soil testing will ultimately be conducted as part of the Board’s ongoing investigation regarding the presence of polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS), a common chemical required by FAA to be in aircraft firefighting foam. Based on findings from previous environmental investigations conducted in the immediate vicinity of the Oxnard Airport runway, low concentrations of PFAS were detected in a small number of locations where firefighting foam had been released for training and testing purposes. As such, there is potential for PFAS compounds to be present in excavated soil removed as part of the reconstruction project. Out of an abundance of caution, this material was stockpiled for further analysis. Once testing is completed, the soil will either be reused for other airport projects or taken offsite.

PFAS is a chemical that is also commonly found in non-stick cookware, plastic food packaging, stain-resistant fabric, and cosmetics. Because of its widespread use, regulatory agencies are currently working to more clearly identify thresholds for the regulation of PFAS.

The County of Ventura and Department of Airports are committed to prioritizing public health and safety and will continue to work closely with the Water Quality Control Board to ensure any additional measures of safety are taken.

For more information, please visit vcariports.org or e-mail AirportInfo@ventura.org.