Portola Hills Soil Information

2021-06-08 City of Lake Forest-- Leighton Update on Soil-Odor Portola Oaks

July 16 Update:

Baldwin & Sons notified the City that all of the black soil causing the odor has apparently been removed. The builder will continue to excavate in the area to determine whether other pockets exist. Those efforts will continue next week.

The City will seek independent confirmation, as well.

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The City received reports of odors in the Portola Hills area in late March. When it was determined that the odor was coming from the Baldwin site, the City had Baldwin stop work in the area causing the odor and requested Baldwin come up with a plan to address the odors.

In an effort to reduce the odor while developing a remediation plan, Baldwin sprayed water and a non-toxic chemical on the soil. When that failed to sufficiently reduce the odor, Baldwin covered the area with 2 to 3 feet of non-odorous dirt. 

Once the soil causing the odor was sampled and determined safe to remove, Baldwin made the decision to excavate the odor-causing soil for disposal in Riverside County.

Lake Forest hired an expert to review the proposed solution and soil samples. The City’s environmental consultant determined that while contaminants were detected in the soil, the levels detected in soil and air do not appear to represent levels hazardous to the surrounding community. Air monitoring continues during the excavation, which began May 24. 

Baldwin expects to finish removing 20,000 cubic yards of soil by the week of June 21.

Residents' health and safety continues to be the City's top priority.

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Below are the studies and other relevant documents:

If you have questions or other concerns, please call the City's Portola Hills Hotline at 949.461.3536. Your message will be routed to the proper staff member.