The Anaconda Wire Site is located in the city limits of Orange, California at 200-296 North Cypress Street. The site is bounded by North Cypress Street to the east, West Maple Avenue to the south, existing railroad right-of-way to the west, and West Palm Avenue to the north.
The site was going to be developed for Chapman University student housing to accompany the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, which is located adjacent to the site in the Marion Knott Studios. When the University purchased the site, it was advised that there were no significant environmental issues. In preparing to develop the site, however, the University discovered the presence of chemicals in certain portions of the soil, underground soil gas, and groundwater. The chemicals are believed to be left over from long past industrial activity conducted at the site, including operations from a company called Anaconda Wire & Cable Company. For several decades in the mid-1900s, Anaconda Wire & Cable Company performed wire manufacturing at the site, and on certain portions of the adjoining land, including where the Marion Knott Studios are located. Based on information currently available, it appears that only the northern portion of the site is heavily contaminated. At the request of the oversight agencies, the University is continuing to investigate the extent of the contamination, including testing on adjacent locations which may have been impacted. Given the presence of contamination at the site, the University is cooperating with governmental agencies, and has retained environmental engineers and scientists, to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to protect the health and safety of those on site and nearby.
The primary chemicals discovered at the site to date are Perchlorethylene (PCE), Carbon Tetrachloride, Trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene and hexavalent chromium.
The University is cooperating with multiple government agencies to address the presence of the underground chemicals. These agencies include the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Ana Region (RWQCB). The agencies are overseeing, and directing, the environmental investigations and cleanup activities at the site to ensure that such actions are conducted in a safe and protective manner. The agencies are requiring further characterization of the soil and groundwater at the site. This work is currently in progress, as discussed in detail below. The environmental investigations and cleanup activities at the site are being conducted in a manner that is consistent with federal regulations for taking response actions at contaminated sites. The University’s consultants are following a site specific health and safety plan, a sampling and analysis plan, and a quality assurance project plan, all of which are consistent with the requirements of 40 C.F.R. § 300.430, the portion of the federal National Contingency Plan which requires a site specific health and safety plan, a sampling and analysis plan, and a quality assurance project plan. These plans ensure safety at the site and that the work done at the site meets the appropriate standards.
The University is committed to effective communication with the community and interested parties. It is natural to expect that there may be interest in the contamination and the response actions being taken to address these conditions. Information about the site was distributed near the beginning of this project; the University intends to provide updates to the community as the project progresses.
Air Quality: Upon learning about the contamination at the site, the University immediately conducted above-ground indoor and outdoor air testing at the site and on the adjacent Marion Knott Studios property. The results of the air quality tests were consistent with typical outdoor and indoor air quality measurements in Southern California. There were no indications that the underground conditions at the site are affecting above-ground air quality. Water Quality: The drinking water for the University campus does not come from the site. Drinking water is supplied by the City of Orange Public Works Water Division and is tested regularly for safety. Testing on certain portions of the site has revealed the presence of industrial chemicals in the groundwater. The extent of this contamination is currently under investigation.
The University has removed much of the former Anaconda building, with the exception of a portion that has been designated as historic. The University is constructing a parking structure and classrooms on the southern portion of the site. The principal suspected source area of contamination is located on the northeastern portion of the site. Environmental consultants have been retained to investigate and further delineate the extent of the contamination, subject to the requirements of the governmental agencies.
During the demolition and construction activities at the site, an environmental consultant, Source Group, Inc. from Signal Hill, has been present to monitor the soil conditions and to ensure proper removal of any contaminated soil. A Soil Contingency Plan, dated July 24, 2012, was developed by Block Environmental to specifically address how to appropriately and safely identify and remove contaminated soils. The Soil Contingency Plan was reviewed and approved by the OCHCA and the RWQCB. By following the Soil Contingency Plan, Source Group Inc. will ensure proper management and handling of contaminated soil.
In August 2013, the environmental consultants will begin implementing a work plan to further investigate the conditions at the site and on the adjacent land. The current work plan dated July 23, 2013 was prepared by Geosyntec Consultants and is entitled, “Supplemental Site Investigation Work Plan.” The work plan was developed to define and set forth the work required by the government agencies, as follows:
The July 23, 2013 Supplemental Site Investigation Work Plan includes additional soil vapor, soil, and groundwater sampling. In order to collect these additional samples, the consultants will drill new soil vapor probes and groundwater monitoring wells on the site and on adjacent land. These new probes and wells will be sampled and tested to further the understanding of the contamination. The locations of the off-site probes and wells are required by the RWQCB to confirm the extent of the contamination. This work is expected to begin as early as the week of August 5, 2013, and will continue over the next several months. The work will be conducted pursuant to a site specific health and safety plan to ensure that it is done in a safe manner.
The University conducted a bidding process and solicited bids from three qualified environmental consultants. As a result, the University selected Environmental Engineering & Contracting, Inc. (EEC) located in Santa Ana. EEC expects to break ground shortly after the RWQCB gives final approval of the Supplemental Site Investigation Work Plan. EEC likely will be on site during the months of August and September 2013.
The Supplemental Site Investigation Work Plan includes a pilot test of the feasibility of soil vapor extraction technology to remediate some portion of the subsurface conditions at the site. Soil vapor extraction is a technology that has proven effective in similar situations to remove volatile organic compounds, such as those present in the soil under the site. The exact timing of the pilot test is uncertain, but it is expected to be in operation by the end of 2013. The RWQCB or OCHCA may require further work at the site depending on the results of the upcoming field work and the pilot test.
Further information regarding the site, including copies of the various documents mentioned above, is available at anacondawiresite.com.
For additional information, please contact either Mark Hickner, Community Involvement Coordinator, c/o KTGY Group, 17922 Fitch, Irvine, CA 92614, 949-268-8530, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Jason Gavin, Project Manager, c/o KTGY Group, 17922 Fitch, Irvine, CA 92614, 949-567-3459, email@example.com.
For additional information, please contact Kris Olsen, Vice President of Campus Planning & Operations, One University Dr., Orange, CA 92866, or at firstname.lastname@example.org or 714 744 7880.