OCEANSIDE — The city of Oceanside was left with a major hazardous waste cleanup after a family moved out of their foreclosed home at 1428 San Simeon Street on Nov. 4.
The past resident of the home in the Capistrano neighborhood, near the front gate of Camp Pendleton, reported to the Fire Department that her husband had owned a company that made gopher eradication devices and regularly bought and sold hazardous materials and explosives to kill the gophers. Her husband developed gastrointestinal cancer in 2005 and died in 2008, leaving the hazardous materials behind.
Firefighters found four storage buildings in the backyard that contained hazardous liquid and solid materials. There were also numerous containers of liquid found in the backyard brush and in a 3-foot-by-3-foot underground storage area. Much of the waste sat on city property adjacent to the house.
Hazardous waste experts from the County Health Department, San Diego Fire Department Hazardous Material Team, Camp Pendleton Fire Department and Sheriff Arson and Bomb Squad assisted in cleanup efforts.
In all, a dozen hazardous material technicians worked more than five hours to locate and identify materials. Some materials were in labeled containers, but many were found in unmarked bottles, drums, bags and boxes and had to be tested to be identified.
Approximately 2,000 pounds of aluminum powder was immediately removed from the site. Other materials were packaged and removed Nov. 5 and Nov. 6.
Adjacent neighbors were notified of the incident and cleanup plans, but were not advised to evacuate since all materials were stabilized.
City and county officials will follow up with environmental testing to ensure that no contaminated soil or other material is left on site. The site was approved to use state and federal “Superfund” monies to fund the cleanup.