Contaminated groundwater is 2 miles from Vista Canyon

The Lang Station historical landmark marker stands beside the railroad tracks on Lang Station Road near Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Dan Watson/The Signal

State cleanup officials voiced concerns Monday for residents living near contaminated groundwater at Lang Station, just two miles upstream from Vista Canyon where 1,000 homes are to be built.

No one lives at Lang Station, on the south side of Highway 14 off of Soledad Canyon Road.

Shovels, however, are expected to go into the ground near Lang Station by late summer as monitoring wells are dug for Vista Canyon’s so-called “water factory,” planned to become Santa Clarita’s first large-scale water recycling project.

Monitoring wells for the project are expected to be dug about two miles west of monitoring wells used for monitoring the ongoing toxic cleanup at Lang Station. Detectable levels of petrochemicals have been found at the Lang site.

On Monday, a spokesman for the California Department of Toxic Substances, said test results of groundwater at the Lang Station site would be a concern for anyone living there.

“Groundwater contamination has been at a concentration that may pose a health risk if the site were occupied,” Russ Edmonson, spokesman for the toxic substances department, told The Signal Monday.

Both Lang Station and Vista Canyon are on the south banks of the Santa Clara River flood plain.

Is two miles considered too close for comfort when it comes to groundwater contamination?

The Signal put the question to two local officials sitting on the working group to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency – Dirk Marks, water resource manager for the Castaic Lake Water Agency and Robert Newman, public works director for the City of Santa Clarita.

Both “working group” members are expected to attend Wednesday’s groundwater meeting and will be available to answer questions about groundwater from the public.

As recent concerns over groundwater move from the backseat to the driver’s seat of urban water management, state officials revealed Monday they have concerns about both the contaminated groundwater at Lang Station and its air quality.

Environmental experts hired to clean up the toxic site at Lang Station recommended more testing of both air and water in their report prepared for state officials in October.

“Additional testing has been done and we have evaluated the results which were presented in a technical memorandum prepared by DTSC’s contractor,” Edmonson said Monday.

That memo calls for a “site wide soil gas survey” to be done and for groundwater sampling to also be done.

“We have agreed with these recommendations,” Edmonson said. “And the sampling is planned for this month.

“Our evaluation indicates that additional soil vapor extraction is needed to reduce human health risks to an acceptable level,” Edmonson said.

“The results from sampling proposed for later this month will be used to determine the extent of soil vapor treatment that is needed, and whether groundwater treatment is needed,” he said.

The ‘Water factory’ facility planned as part of Vista Canyon is to be Santa Clarita’s first large-scale recycling venture.

Vista Canyon, proposed by Valencia-based JSB Development Inc., is a mixed-use housing project that calls for more than 1,000 homes to be built and almost a million square feet of commercial space on 185 acres across the Santa Clara River from Canyon Country Park. It would be located between Sand Canyon and Lost Canyon roads.

Lang Station is a 64-acre contaminated site at 1250 Lang Station Road, east of State Route 14 off Soledad Canyon Road.

Engineers who specialize in “restoring damaged environments” last month recommended to state environmental officials that cleanup of the toxic site at Lang Station be extended for another six to nine months after high levels of contaminants were found there last year.

Engineers with the URS Corporation based in Irvine, now part of Aecom Corporation the company contracted to do the cleanup, told officials with the California Department of Toxic Substances that further testing of both soil and water at the site were needed.

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