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Last Edited: 5/18/2010

Casmalia Resources Landfill, Casmalia - Public Health Activities

In 2005, the California Department of Public Health--formerly the California Department of Health Services (CDHS)--conducted an evaluation of the public health implications from contamination at the Casmalia Resources landfill site.

The site 

Casmalia Resources is a former Class I hazardous waste landfill located in northern Santa Barbara County. Between 1972 and 1986, Casmalia Resources placed solid and liquid hazardous waste into its landfills and hazardous waste ponds. There has been concern expressed within the local communities that the site has polluted the air and contaminated the soil and drinking water.

The site was added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List on September 13, 2001.

CDHS's involvement at the site 

Under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), CDHS conducted an evaluation of the public health implications from the contamination found at the Casmalia Resources site, and presented its findings and recommendations in a report called a public health assessment (PHA).

Public Health Assessment of Casmalia Resources [9/28/05]
Conclusions Section
Appendices A-B
Appendix C

Summary of CDHS's findings

  • Past exposures (1973-1986) to vapors from the site posed a public health hazard for those living in the town of Casmalia, as well as for local ranchers while the landfill was operating. Modeled concentrations, based on air samples taken on-site, suggest the presence of contaminants in the Casmalia community at levels above health concern. However, because of a lack of relevant data characterizing the duration of exposure, it is not possible to determine whether adverse health effects would be expected.
  • There is no past or present exposure pathway for site-related contaminants to enter the municipal drinking water. There is a potential exposure pathway in the future. However, given the hydrogeology of the area and monitoring efforts, it is unlikely contaminants will reach drinking water that is served to the public.
  • Due to a lack of data, CDHS was unable to evaluate the following potential exposure pathways: 1) past and current exposure to contaminants in surface water via skin contact; 2) skin contact and ingestion of contaminants in surface soil; and 3) current and future exposures to vapors emanating from the site.

Recommendations made in the public health assessment

On the basis of these findings, CDHS recommended several measures to fill the data gaps to ensure that the community will not be impacted by the residual contamination associated with the site. The recommendations call for enhanced monitoring of the groundwater around the site, sediment sampling in Casmalia Creek, surface soil sampling in the town of Casmalia, and air monitoring along the perimeter of the site. View the complete recommendations from the PHA. 

Related Topics


Project Location

  • CA Counties: Santa Barbara