Category Archives: Featured Projects

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Padre prepared an EIR for the Calleguas Municipal Water District – Las Virgenes Municipal Water District Interconnection Project. The project would improve water reliability for both water districts by connecting the potable water systems of the two regional water purveyors, including construction of new pipelines, a new pump station, and a minor expansion of the Las Vírgenes Water District’s recycled water distribution system. Environmental issues of particular concern analyzed in the EIR included noise, aesthetics, biological resources (Lindero Creek), cultural resources, and hazardous materials (soil contamination). Mitigation measures were provided for project impacts identified for these issue areas to reduce the impacts to a less than significant level. The EIR also evaluated three alternatives in addition to the “No Project Alternative” and the proposed project.

The Final EIR can be reviewed at: http://www.calleguas.com/cmwd-lvmwd-feir.pdf

Sep
26

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa – Geotechnical Services

By Donna Hebert,

The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa (OVI) is a luxury destination hotel. The Inn has been honored in the prestigious, Condé Nast Traveler Magazine Top 100 Hotels in the World, editor-selected Gold List, and has been chosen by Travel + Leisure publication readers as one of the Best Hotels in the World.

OVI is persistent in its effort to maintain and improve their facilities. Padre has assisted OVI in this pursuit by providing professional geotechnical services to the Inn since 2001. This work began with the 2002-2003 OVI Expansion Project which included the addition of 10 new guest room buildings, a swimming pool, and extensive remodeling of the existing facilities. Padre provided subsurface exploration, laboratory testing, geotechnical/geologic analysis and prepared the geotechnical study for the project. Padre performed foundation plan review for the project during design and subsequently provided grading observation and testing services during the construction phase of the project. Padre’s work on this project was completed in 2005.

Beginning in 2014, Padre again provided geotechnical services to the OVI for the OVI Phases I and II Renovations Project. In 2017/2018 Padre provided similar geotechnical engineering design and testing services during construction of the recently competed Farmhouse project. The Farmhouse is a “culinary inspired event center” that includes large indoor and outdoor dining areas that can accommodate events of 2,000 attendees or more, commercial kitchen for catering, and a culinary display kitchen where renown chefs provide culinary demonstrations and tastings for guests.

Aug
26

Fiber Optic Cable Installations and Subsequent Decommissioning Projects

By Donna Hebert,

In the rapidly developing world of telecommunications and data transmission, Padre has had the opportunity to support the full life cycle of several trans-Pacific cable projects. Initially efforts included preparation of Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) related to the installation and operation, of the California offshore and inland segments of fiber optic cables from Southeast Asia to the United States (specifically San Luis Obispo County). Preparation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance documentation involved the review of applicant-provided data reports on the seafloor and onshore habitats, marine and terrestrial biological resources, cultural resources, and equipment/vessel emissions that Padre staff subsequently incorporated into the EIRs. Specific issues of concern included the potential impacts of the placement of the offshore portion of the buried fiber optic cables on commercial fishing, hardbottom biota, and cultural resources. Onshore concerns centered on vehicle access to existing buried conduits across streams and other sensitive terrestrial habitats.

In addition to completing the necessary environmental assessments, Padre provided compliance monitors which entailed biologists, cultural resource specialists, and other technical experts being on-site during the offshore cable laying/burial operations, and documentation of onshore impacts from vehicle access and conduit excavation. Padre marine scientists were also responsible for reviewing applicant-provided videotapes of the offshore cable laying operations and for reporting on the effects of those operations on seafloor habitats along the offshore cable corridors.

In 2017, AT&T determined that two of the cables installed in 2000 were no longer necessary. Padre assisted AT&T with an application to California State Lands Commission (CSLC) for quit claim of the lease in State jurisdictional waters. Under the direction of CSLC as the State lead agency, Padre then prepared an EIR Addendum under CEQA. The EIR Addendum was finalized in November 2017. Subsequently, Padre assisted AT&T with permitting to remove the two cables. Permits were obtained from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the California Coastal Commission in support of this work. Removal activities are currently ongoing (August-September 2019), and Padre continues to provide environmental oversight and coordination with responsible agencies to ensure compliance with Project permit conditions of approval.

Jul
24

Sedgewick Elementary School Expansion Project

By Donna Hebert,

The Cupertino Union School District (District) proposed to purchase a 1.48-acre property adjacent to the Sedgewick Elementary School for a school expansion project (not to result in the addition of classrooms or students to the existing school). The expansion site was the subject of a cleanup program conducted under the oversight of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) School Property Evaluation and Cleanup Division.

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and Preliminary Soil Quality Evaluation was prepared for the subject site in 2014 and identified the following facts. Historic and existing uses of the site included residential and orchard. An underground storage tank (UST) was removed from the site in 1996. Concentrations of chlordane (an organochlorine pesticide) and lead above the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 residential screening level (RSL) were identified in soil around the perimeter of existing building structures. Total petroleum hydrocarbons gasoline (TPHg), ethylbenzene and xylenes above the RSL were identified in soil at a depth of 12 feet below ground surface at the location of the previously removed UST.

Padre was retained by the District to prepare a Preliminary Site Assessment (PEA) Workplan (2015). The purpose of the PEA was to establish whether a release or potential release of hazardous substances which pose a threat to human health exists at the subject site. The PEA included review of existing records; discussion of findings; execution of a conceptual site model to identify the complete exposure pathways for the screening level evaluation of chronic health risk; and preparation of a plan (including detailed field and laboratory procedures) for the implementation of further soil sampling and soil gas sampling and evaluation at the site. The PEA was approved by the DTSC in June 2015.

Padre prepared a Technical Memorandum on behalf of the District outlining revisions to the PEA field sampling plan due to revisions to the screening level adopted by the DTSC for Chlordane in October 2015. A Supplemental Site Investigation (SSI) Summary Report was also prepared in accordance with above referenced memorandum and submitted to the DTSC.

On behalf of the District Padre prepared a Removal Action Workplan (RAW) in 2018 that was based upon the results of the Final PEA, the SSI and RAW scoping meeting held with the DTSC. Among other elements, the RAW identified the nature, source and extent of contaminants at the site; provided a risk evaluation and preliminary cleanup goals, and included an engineering evaluation, identification and evaluation of removal action alternatives, and a plan for removal action implementation. The recommended remedy for the subject site was excavation, transport and off-site disposal of soil containing elevated levels of chlordane and lead. After completion of removal action, it was proposed that the site would be regraded and restored to meet the needs of the final school design.

The RAW was implemented in October 2018 and approximately 215 cubic-yards of pesticide and lead-containing soil was excavated and temporarily stockpiled pending waste characterization. The stockpiled soil was classified as a non-hazardous waste solid and transported to Republic Services, Inc. Newby Island Landfill Facility located in Milpitas, Santa Clara County, California.

In 2019, Padre prepared a Removal Action Completion Report (RACR) that detailed the removal action and concluded that post-removal action conditions of the subject site do not pose a significant threat to human health or the environment. The DTSC approved the RACR and certified that all response actions have been completed and further removal/remedial actions are not necessary for the subject site.

Public outreach by the DTSC was conducted throughout the site evaluation, planning and removal action process. The outreach was performed to inform the public about the site and cleanup activities and to provide the public an opportunity to be involved in the DTSC’s decision-making process. Technical documents prepared by Padre served as one of the information sources used during this process.

Jun
28

Kern County Public Works – Biological Services

By Donna Hebert,

Project Name: On-Call Biological Services Contract, Kern County, California
Services: Biological Surveys and Monitoring
Client: Kern County Public Works Department

Padre has a contract with the Kern County Public Works Department to provide biological surveys and monitoring for various road related activities including road widening, sidewalk adjustments, street lights, and other related activities.  Padre biologists conduct biological surveys and then prepare and submit reports for incorporation into various project documentation.  Padre also prepares and administers Environmental Awareness Training to the construction crews involved in the various road improvement projects.  Padre has held this contract since 2015 and has provided services to the County on over 25 projects.

Most recently Padre has provided the following biological services for the Kern County Public Works – Roads Department:

  • Conducted a biological survey and prepared an associated report for the Shafer Road Crossing Project;
  • Provided environmental awareness training for the crews working on the North Chester Pedestrian Path Project; and
  • Provided environmental awareness training to crews working on the Backus Road Shoulders Project.

May
21

Besant Hill School – Geotechnical Services

By Donna Hebert,

 

Besant Hill School was impacted by the Thomas Fire (December 2017) which destroyed faculty housing, a maintenance facility, and other structures on the campus. As part of the reconstruction effort, Padre was retained to provide the following services:

 

  • Perform geotechnical studies to evaluate subsurface conditions for one bridge abutment and development of the proposed building reconstruction sites;
  • Prepare reports presenting findings from field and laboratory results and recommendations for the design and construction of mitigation measures for the bridge abutment and for site grading, retaining walls, and building foundations;
  • Perform and evaluate percolation rates at the site; and
  • Provide engineering design of onsite wastewater disposal systems for the faculty residences, ceramics studio, and maintenance building.

The subsurface condition evaluation conducted by Padre included the advancement of drill holes using a hollow-stem auger, collection of relatively undisturbed soil samples, geologic logging of soil samples and drill cuttings encountered, and laboratory testing of selected soil samples for classification, strength, compressibility, expansion, and corrosion. Padre evaluated the data obtained from the efforts outlined above and prepared a geotechnical report for the design and construction of projects which included findings and recommendations.  

Padre also conducted percolation testing in both drill holes and backhoe test pits, and preliminary seepage pit tests in an effort to identify suitable disposal areas for the proposed onsite wastewater systems. Padre is currently working with the client to develop the onsite wastewater disposal systems for the proposed structures.

Apr
16

Agromin Composting and Soil Amendment Facility EIR

By Donna Hebert,

Padre prepared an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), on behalf of the County of Ventura for the proposed Major Modification to the Conditional Use Permit for the Agromin Composting and Soil Amendment Facility (Project) located off Arnold Road, in the unincorporated area of Ventura County. The Project would allow for continued use of the facility until March 2019, an increase in the volume of feedstock and compost that can be present on the Project site from 10,000 cubic yards to 17,500 cubic yards, and the installation of various facility improvements. The proposed facility improvements include: SmartFerm dry anaerobic digestion system; 30-foot high mesh screen on the eastern boundary; fire access and hydrants; and three retention basins.

The County of Ventura Planning Division prepared an lnitial Study which revealed that the project has the potential to create a significant impact to endangered, threatened, or rare species; therefore, an ElR was determined to be the appropriate California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance document. The EIR focuses on biological resource issues, primarily the attraction of predatory birds by food material and resulting impacts on the nearby nesting population of western snowy plover, California least tern, light-footed clapper rail and Belding’s savannah sparrow.

Padre developed a multi-faceted, Integrated Predatory Bird Management Plan to minimize the attraction of predatory birds to the Agromin Facility and resulting impacts to listed bird species. The Plan included bird deterrence features (mylar flagging, flight diverters, air dancers, spike stripping, effigies), a hazing dog program, a full-time falconry program, lethal control, and monitoring and adaptive management plan.

In mid-2018, the applicant proposed substantial project modifications prompted by expiration of the permit authorization for a research food material composting operation. These modifications focused on replacing the proposed dry anaerobic digestion system with a Bio-Drum aerobic composting system and extending the permit termination date to December 31, 2020. In response to these modifications, the Draft EIR was revised and recirculated for public comment. A Final EIR was prepared in April 2019 and is anticipated to be approved by the Board of Supervisors in May 2019.

Jun
11

Mallard Farms Pipeline Replacement Project

By Donna Hebert,

Padre is providing construction monitoring for regulatory permit compliance and environmental oversight for the Mallard Farms Pipeline Replacement Project. The project involves the replacement of an approximately 1.7-mile segment of refined products pipeline from Honker Bay to the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area in the Suisun Marsh area of the Delta using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) techniques. The project requires the construction of a temporary work platform for the HDD drill rig in Honker Bay and the temporary construction of an HDD drill pad in wetland habitat in the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. Padre provided biological services support for the project including the completion of protocol-level surveys for Ridgway’s rail, rare plant surveys, and pre-construction breeding bird surveys. Padre is currently providing construction monitoring support for regulatory permit compliance. Construction monitoring includes underwater noise monitoring using a Reson TC-4033 hydrophone during pile driving operations associated with construction of the temporary work platform. Underwater noise monitoring is being conducted to ensure project compliance with peak sound pressure level thresholds set forth in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Incidental Take Permit for protection of listed fish species (delta smelt, longfin smelt, and winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon). Padre is providing on-going support through the construction phase of this project which is expected to be completed in summer 2018.

Apr
12

Encina Marine Oil Terminal Decommissioning Project

By Donna Hebert,

Padre and its subconsultant Longitude 123 prepared a Project Execution Plan (PEP) on behalf of Cabrillo Power I LLC addressing the decommissioning of its Encina Marine Oil Terminal (MOT). The MOT historically supported electrical energy production at the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad, California and is partially located offshore within a State Lease area. The PEP is designed to provide for the decommissioning of the MOT in a manner that is satisfactory to the California State Lands Commission (CSLC) and will allow for a lease termination agreement.

The PEP includes a detailed description of project setting, potential decommissioning project activities including alternative scenarios. The PEP also includes an environmental impact assessment as well as supporting documentation and plans provided to maximize safety and minimize potential environmental impacts. These plans were prepared by Padre and include:

• Marine Safety and Anchoring Plan;
• Marine Wildlife Contingency Plan; and
• Oil Spill Response Plan.

Additionally, the PEP provides information used to support the preparation of the required California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documentation and regulatory permit applications.

After submittal of the PEP and approval of the project design by the CSLC, Padre assisted the CSLC with the preparation of a CEQA compliance document for the Project. The Mitigated Negative Declaration may be downloaded at:
http://www.slc.ca.gov/Info/CEQA/Cabrillo.html

The MOT facilities are located within the jurisdictions of multiple federal, state and local agencies. After the completion and approval of the CEQA documentation, Padre assisted Cabrillo Power I LLC with the preparation of permit applications that were submitted to the California Coastal Commission (CCC), United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). These included a CCC Coastal Development Permit application, Preconstruction Notification Package for coverage under the USACOE Nationwide Permit Program, and RWQCB application for Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification. Padre also assisted with coordination of a Right of Entry Permit from the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Once permits were received, Padre assisted Cabrillo Power I LLC with development of a CEQA mitigation and permit condition tracking document. Padre also assisted (under a separate contract) the selected contractor, Curtin Maritime Corporation, complete their Contractor Work Plan for the project which was approved by the CSLC in 2017.

Presently (2018), Padre is assisting Cabrillo Power I LLC with certain tasks associated with mitigation and project permit condition compliance monitoring and reporting. This includes offshore monitoring for the protection of marine wildlife, and other environmental compliance measures, as well as preparation of periodic compliance monitoring reports. Upon completion of the project Padre will prepare a final mitigation and permit conditions compliance summary report on behalf of Cabrillo Power I LLC for submittal to the CSLC.

Feb
05

New School Site Preliminary Environmental Assessment

By Donna Hebert,

Padre prepared a Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) for a proposed new 30-classroom elementary school proposed to be located in Gilroy, California (Project Site). The PEA was conducted in accordance with a Preliminary Environmental Assessment Work Plan, also prepared by Padre and approved by the California Environmental Protection Agency Department of Toxic Substances Control (CalEPA/DTSC). The activities performed were to fulfill the requirements of an Environmental Oversight Agreement issued to the school district by CalEPA/DTSC. Pursuant to Option A of the California Education Code Section 17213.1.a (6) (A), the PEA was made available to the public for review and comment.

The purpose of the PEA was to establish whether a release or potential release of hazardous substances or naturally occurring material, which would pose a threat to human health via ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation exposure pathways, exists at the Project Site. Chemicals of potential concern (COPCs) identified at the Project Site included:

• Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in soil from historic agricultural use;
• Arsenic and copper in soil from historic agricultural use;
• Cobalt in soil related to concentrations identified in a soil stockpile located on the Project Site; and
• Naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) from weathering of ultramafic rock outcrops located in outlying areas.

Analytical results from soil sampling indicate that the amounts of the COPCs identified above are not present in on-site soils at levels that require further assessment or remediation, based upon State of California health risk thresholds with the exception of NOA.

Padre prepared a Removal Action Work Plan (RAW) and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Plan for the Project Site. The recommended response action to eliminate, reduce, and/or mitigate the identified chemicals of concern is the implementation of engineering controls in the form of a “cap” placed over the NOA-containing soil, creating a barrier to prevent or greatly reduce human exposure and health impacts. After school construction is completed, the O&M Plan will address long-term monitoring and maintenance of engineering controls, and management of soils containing elevated concentrations of NOA at the Project Site.