Palos Verdes Landfill (Closed)


The Palos Verdes Landfill (PVLF) is a closed landfill located in the north-facing foothills of the Palos Verdes peninsula in the south central portion of Los Angeles County. The landfill site consists of approximately 290 acres within six parcels of land separated into three sections by Hawthorne and Crenshaw Boulevards.

Parcels 2, 3, 5, and 6 are located between Hawthorne and Crenshaw Boulevards. This area is commonly referred to as the "Main Site." The total area of the Main Site is 173 acres, and is currently operated by the Sanitation Districts with limited access to the public.

Parcel 1, consisting of 83 acres, is located south of Crenshaw Boulevard. This area is currently operated by the County of Los Angeles as the South Coast Botanic Garden. Parcel 4, consisting of 35 acres, is located northwest of Hawthorne Boulevard. The City of Rolling Hills Estates currently owns and operates Ernie Howlett Park on Parcel 4. 

Since the early 1900s, mining and quarrying operations for diatomaceous earth, sand, and gravel were conducted at and around the Main Site. Mining activities at the PVLF continued until the 1950s when operations were discontinued primarily due to reserve depletion. The PVLF was operated under permit by the Sanitation Districts as a sanitary landfill from May 1957 through December 1980. During 1964 through 1980, the landfill accepted hazardous wastes in those areas permitted for these wastes. The Sanitation Districts continues on-going maintenance and monitoring of the site through the present.


Air - For the control of any emissions of landfill gas from the landfill into the ambient air, or off-site through soils, an extensive landfill gas collection system is in operation at the Main Site and the South Coast Botanic Garden. If not properly controlled, landfill gas can migrate through the subsurface and/or escape into the atmosphere.

Surface Water - The surface water controls divert rainfall runoff away from the site to prevent ponding over the waste-filled areas of the landfill and control the potential for cover erosion. This is accomplished by grading and the current drainage network. Because of surface settlement on the landfill, the grading and surface controls are frequently monitored and maintenance activities are performed as required.

Soil Cover - The Sanitation Districts also maintain a vegetative cover on the Main Site to prevent the loss of soil cover to surface runoff water. This cover consists of grass, shrubs, trees, ice plant and other ground cover plant species.

Groundwater - Both groundwater protection and monitoring systems are currently in existence at the landfill. The groundwater protection systems focus on liquids collection, treatment, and disposal. The groundwater protection system consists of a subsurface barrier, an underdrain collection sump, a condensate system and groundwater extraction wells. The groundwater monitoring system consists of a series of wells which are monitored and tested for contaminants on a regular basis.


In 1989, the Sanitation Districts began work on the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) of Cal/EPA (formerly known as the California Department of Health Services) provided oversight and activity review of the study. The purpose of the study was to investigate, identify, and remediate any potential migration of hazardous materials from the PVLF. Several Fact Sheets provided information on the history of the site and the investigation to local residents and other interested parties.

Community Involvement - The Sanitation Districts and DTSC encouraged the community to take an active interest in the issues that affected the remediation effort. A Community Relations Plan (CRP) and various technical reports were made available for public viewing at several locations in the community. Prior to commencement of field activities, DTSC, in cooperation with the Sanitation Districts, held community-wide public meetings. The meetings allowed DTSC and the Sanitation Districts to further explain their roles in the RI/FS project, upcoming activities, and recent results, and allowed community members to ask any questions they may have had. Both DTSC and the Sanitation Districts made experts in various fields available to answer these questions.

The following Fact Sheets were published over the course of the study of the PVLF:

Fact Sheet #1 Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (May 1990)
Fact Sheet #2 Response to Community Concerns (September 1990)
Fact Sheet #3 Remedial Investigation (Update February 1991)
Fact Sheet #4 Remedial Investigation (Update May 1991)
Fact Sheet #5 Remedial Investigation (Update January 1992)
Fact Sheet #6 Environmental Investigation (Update September 1993)
Fact Sheet #7 Site Investigation Completion (August 1995)
Fact Sheet #8 Public Input Sought On Draft Remedial Action Plan (October 1995)

On June 26, 1997, DTSC approved implementation of the Final Remedial Action Plan for the former landfill. The Sanitation Districts will continue to operate and maintain the groundwater extraction and monitoring system at the landfill as long as necessary. On May 11, 1999, DTSC certified that remediation at the PVLF had been successfully implemented. The complete Remedial Investigation Report can be viewed by following this link. To verify that remedial actions continue to be protective of human health and the environment. DTSC reviews facility performance every five years. More information about the Five‐Year Reviews for the PVLF can be viewed by following this link.

If you have any questions, please contact the Technical Services Department, Water Quality and Soils Engineering Section at (562) 699-7411, extension 2826.