The Reynolds Group’s involvement in a major shopping center development saved the owner of the project potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. Two environmental issues arose during the development of an orange orchard into a large retail shopping center in Corona. One was associated with the past use of the land as an orchard and the other was associated with electric transformers formerly located on the property.
During grading activities, soil heavily stained by oil was encountered. TRG tested the soil and confirmed the substance was smudge pot oil based on the chemical make-up and the former land use. The burning of oil in smudge pots helped prevent frost from forming on the fruit in the orchard. There had been extensive remediation of smudge pot oil at the site prior to the recent purchase of the property. However, the newly discovered stained soil was outside of the boundaries of the area cleaned up in the past. The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (SARWQCB) was the lead regulatory agency on the past and current smudge pot issues. While TRG was assessing the smudge pot oil, the construction activities at the site caught the attention of representatives of the County of Riverside, who later contacted the owner and informed him of a former electrical substation that used to be on the site. The substation transformers had exploded and the potential of PCB contamination was never properly investigated to the County’s satisfaction. TRG engaged the County and the SARWQCB on the substation issue as well. The SARWQCB conceded oversight of both issues to the County. TRG performed a Health Risk Analysis for both issues and was able to show that leaving the contamination in place would not pose an elevated health risk to the future occupants of the site. By using this approach, TRG obtained closure for the site and saved the project $100,000 of unforeseen costs.