Where is the site Located?
The Anaconda Wire Site is located in the city limits of Orange, California. The site is bounded by N. Cypress Street to the west, W. Maple Avenue to the south, existing railroad right-of-way to the west, and W. Palm Avenue to the north. Based on current information, it appears likely that only a portion of the block is contaminated.
What are the concerns?
Testing of the site has revealed the presence of chemicals beneath one part of the site, which was originally planned for Chapman University student housing, and included underground soil gas that had migrated across Maple Street. The chemicals were left over from long-past industrial activity at the property, where a company called the Anaconda Wire & Cable Company formerly operated for several decades. Prior to its purchase of the property, the University had been advised that there were no significant environmental issues.
Do existing conditions pose a public threat?
Above ground testing of air—including inside Marion Knott Studios—was conducted as a precaution. 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 and near the Anaconda Wire Site are affecting above-ground air quality including air inside the Marion Knott Studios. While tests reveal the presence of industrial chemicals in the groundwater underneath the Anaconda Wire Site, data from March 2011 does not suggest that industrial chemicals have reached the local drinking water supply wells. Drinking water for the campus comes from the City of Orange Public Works Water Division, which tests the water supply regularly for safety.
What chemicals are present on-site?
The primary chemicals discovered are Perchlorethylene (PCE) and Carbon Tetrachloride. Trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene and hexavalent chromium are also present.
What agencies are involved?
Chapman University is cooperating with the oversight agencies including the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Ana Region (RWQCB) to address the presence of underground chemicals resulting from historical site operations. We are coordinating with the appropriate environmental oversight agencies to determine whether additional testing of underground conditions is necessary and what actions will be needed to remediate those conditions. The agencies are requiring further characterization of the soil and groundwater at the site; we will address those conditions when the most appropriate measures are determined.
Why involve the community?
Chapman 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 how the University is dealing with it.
What is the status of the Filmmakers’ Village project?
Chapman University has abandoned plans for the Filmmakers’ Village project in order to properly and proactively address the underground chemicals. The University is currently working on developing an alternative plan for the site that will meet its campus needs. At a minimum, the project will have to be re-planned, re-engineered and re-entitled. Those steps will take time and expense, and will delay the availability of the new facilities.
What portions of the project will be built?
Chapman University is proceeding with the adaptive reuse of one of the original buildings, which is located at the northwest corner of N. Cypress Street and W. Maple Avenue. This building will be used for digital arts classrooms. The building is still in the design stage, but once the design is finished, it will be under construction for approximately 10 months. In addition, the University is proceeding with construction of a 358 space parking structure between the building and the railroad tracks. This parking structure is expected to begin construction in November 2012 and will be finished in approximately ten months.
Will the Marion Knott Studios facilities be closed at any time during site mitigation?
If determined necessary, the University will make suitable accommodations so that classes can continue without interruption.