Recently the City was informed that a parcel of land in the City of Torrance leased by Hi-Shear Corporation was a source of pollution that may be spreading into the City of Lomita. The pollution has entered the soil, groundwater and is emitting soil vapors that consist of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), petroleum hydrocarbons and metals. Hi-Shear is a manufacturer of aerospace parts that has operated since 1958. As early as 1991 an environmental site assessment identified pollution on the parcel. Hi-Shear’s investigation indicates that the plume appears to be migrating to the South-East, toward Lomita.

Hi-Shear and its environmental consulting firm approached the City of Lomita to receive right of way access permits to drill testing wells through areas of Lomita that are near the Hi-Shear property to test for presence of pollution both laterally and vertically. On Tuesday, July 16, the Lomita City Council directed City staff to draft an agreement with Hi Shear to expedite the necessary encroachment permits to allow the drilling and testing to proceed as quickly as possible.  The council also directed City Staff to draft a letter to the City of Torrance outlining the expectations of Lomita that Hi-Shear or the City of Torrance should be responsible for the costs associated with the mitigation, consulting and legal services related to the pollution matter. On September 19, the City and Hi-Shear signed the agreement to expedite Hi-Shear's investigation while protecting residents' interests.

On October 11, after receiving all the required documentation from Hi-Shear, the City of Lomita issued the encroachment permit for Hi-Shear to begin its investigation. Work is tentatively scheduled to begin October 28. In the areas potentially affected by the plume, residents may begin to see temporary street, lane or sidewalk closures; large machinery and noisy equipment (drill rigs and support vehicles); and work crews in hard hats and other safety gear.

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board is the regulatory agency charged with overseeing Hi-Shear’s investigations and clean-up, but the City has engaged Advisian, a Hydrogeology firm, to analyze the scientific data, review past reports produced related to the Hi-Shear pollution matter and advise our community through the process. Dr. Mark Trudell of Advisian, also briefed the City Council and community on the issue during the Council’s consideration of the issue. The presentation and related slide deck are available below for the benefit of the public.

The City of Lomita has two top priorities on the Hi-Shear pollution matter: protect our residents and hold the responsible parties accountable for all costs incurred by the City. While the City of Torrance and Hi-Shear fight about who is ultimately responsible for the pollution, Lomita will focus on ensuring Hi-Shear conducts a thorough and complete investigation as quickly as possible, hold them responsible for making it right, and ensure our residents have all of the information they need throughout the process.

Residents may begin to see small drilling apparatus showing up along streets in the areas potentially affected by the pollution plume in the coming months as Hi-Shear begins its investigations.

As additional information, we are providing the following resources:

State Water Resources Control Board Report on Pollution Matters

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has provided additional information for the community about their ongoing investigation at the Hi-Shear facility. Please see these two PDF documents:

Presentation at July 16 Council Meeting with Slide Deck (PDF Format)

  Map of Current Pollution Area (PDF Format)

 Residents with questions about this matter may contact the City of Lomita Public Works Department at (310) 325-7110. 

This page will continue to be updated as more answers become available or common questions and new information is identified.

Ryan Smoot
City Manager

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Lomita, CA U.S.A. 90717
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