Delayed water tests at Lang Station won’t slow Vista Canyon work

Signal File Photo: A Metrolink train passes by the historical marker for Lang Southern Pacific Station in Canyon Country on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2017.
Signal File Photo: A Metrolink train passes by the historical marker for Lang Southern Pacific Station in Canyon Country on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2017. Dan Watson/The Signal
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State officials monitoring the cleanup of contaminated groundwater at Lang Station began digging deeper wells at the site this summer after finding their existing wells had dried up with the drought.

Officials with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control voiced concern in April for residents living near contaminated groundwater at Lang Station – on the south side of Highway 14 off of Soledad Canyon Road – just two miles upstream from Vista Canyon where 1,000 homes are to be built.

More than 1,000 people, however, are expected to move into Vista Canyon homes built two miles downstream of the contaminated site.

Building construction for the project is expected to begin before the year is out.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of months there will be some commercial buildings constructed,” Robert Newman, Public Works director for Santa Clarita told The Signal this week.

“Vertical construction should begin before the end of the year,” he said.

Asked if there was concerned ongoing tests monitored by the Department of Toxic Substances Control might reveal upstream water to be contaminated, Newman said, “No.”

Any concern about contamination, he said, was allayed by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board which would not have issued permits needed to pursue Vista Canyon and its “Water Factory” recycling project if it was contaminated.

In June, the state water regulators gave Vista Canyon developers, JSB Development, the green light to proceed with the water-recycling plans, approving the necessary permits to do the job.

Water factory

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

Vista Canyon 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.

“In April and May 2017 we oversaw testing at the site,” Russ Edmondson, spokesman for the toxic substances department, told The Signal in May.

When testing crews got to the site, however, they found the wells had dried up.

“We discovered that some of the existing groundwater monitoring wells had gone dry due to the drought so we are working to install new and deeper groundwater monitoring wells at the site,” he told The Signal Friday.

“And, we are also working to resume the soil vapor extraction operations,” he said, noting there is no estimated date as to when either operation would begin.

Vista Canyon developers were expected to install monitoring wells for the “water factory” around this time.

Recycled water

The builders refer to the recycling plant as water factory.

It would receive about 80 percent of the water leaving homes in Vista Canyon – from toilets to bathtub and kitchen sink drains. The other 20 percent – solid wastes from the same sources – would go to the Saugus Water Reclamation Plant for treatment.

The 80 percent would be treated at the water factory for the sole purpose of irrigating public areas such as parks. Planners emphasized the recycled water would not be for human consumption.

Principal players in the project are the developer, which builds the plant, Santa Clarita, which takes ownership and operates it, and the Castaic Lake Water Agency and its water-retailing division, the Santa Clarita Water Division, which will install the infrastructure needed to use water factory water on parks and medians near Vista Canyon.

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