LONG BEACH, CA –The 2017 EDR PRISM Awards honor industry leaders and the “best practices” they advocate, as well as spotlighting high-level project work. SCS’ John Tabella, the SCS National Expert for Environmental Due Diligence and All Appropriate Inquiries accepted the PRISM Outstanding Project Award on May 2, 2017, for SCS Engineers’ contributions to the Comm22 redevelopment project in San Diego, CA.
BRIDGE Housing, the developer, knew that it faced environmental challenges because the site was used as a bus maintenance facility. Before construction on the phased project development could begin, there were environmental issues to investigate and overcome. To ensure the health of workers and future residents, as well as protecting the environment, BRIDGE Housing contracted SCS Engineers, a national environmental consulting and contracting firm, to develop and conduct an investigative and design program to address the change in use from a former bus maintenance facility to the mixed-use affordable housing development.
The environmental issues that needed remediation included leaking underground storage tanks associated with the old bus maintenance facility and fill soils laden with toxic metals – including lead. During the initial investigation into the site history, some interesting facts were discovered. In the early 1900s, a stream ran through the site, which was filled in and leveled for development. The fill material included contaminants, which we now know was often the case at the time. Lead impacted soil or even “burn ash” is a common problem with urban properties.
Even though the site soils did not result in a risk to environmental or human health, the issues were regulated and potentially very costly to address. SCS developed several three-dimensional soil models, which were refined with careful soil profiling. The process, combined with the SCS team’s extensive regulatory knowledge reduced the soil disposal costs by almost $500,000 and resulted in the prevention of 151.52 tons of CO2 emissions.
Groundwater issues resulting from the leaking underground storage tanks were successfully addressed and issued a closure letter from the Department of Environmental Health before breaking ground. The Soils Management Plan for impacted soil was approved prior to construction, and all project phases have now been issued a closure letter for the residential uses.
The master-planned development also features enhanced plaza areas for public gatherings, strong pedestrian connectivity throughout the site and convenient access to public transportation. As part of the development process, area infrastructure received significant upgrades such as streetscape improvements, storm drains, water and sewer lines, and undergrounding of power lines. Two phases of the project Paseo, a 120-unit affordable housing property, and Victoria, 70 units of affordable housing for seniors are completed. During the summer and fall of 2016, the third phase of the project broke ground where Habitat for Humanity is developing affordable residential units that will harmonize with the mixed-use housing development completed by BRIDGE Housing.
“The COMM22 project in San Diego exemplifies SCS’s turn-key approach with respect to brownfield redevelopment, and the affordable housing outcome is tremendously rewarding,” stated John Tabella, the SCS National Expert for Environmental Due Diligence. “Thanks to EDR and to the industry for the recognition – we greatly appreciate the chance to help redevelop properties that were once thought unusable.”