Construction slowed in new community after methane is found underground

Posted at 5:17 PM, Dec 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 11:45:37-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A real estate developer said it is working to mitigate methane that was found underneath new homes being built in Chula Vista.  The Village of Escaya neighborhood will have 950 homes once it’s completed.

“We’re excited. We’ve had a great start,” said Steve Levenson of Carlsbad-based HomeFed Corp, Escaya’s developer.

That start slowed earlier this year when an inspected found methane and other chemicals in the ground.

“That started a long process of hiring all the environmental consultants and doing everything that we needed to do,” explained Levenson. “We investigated as hard as it could be investigated… We’re mitigating on sites where no methane was even detected but we’re doing it anyway because we feel it’s the right thing to do.”

Chula Vista residents expressed fear and frustration on a Facebook group page, especially with the development’s proximity to the Otay Landfill.  Levenson said the landfill is more than 1000 feet from the landfill owned Republic Industries.  He added they aren’t certain the landfill is the source of the methane.  However, Levenson said building on land containing methane is nothing new.

“You’ll see it all over in Southern California: Long Beach, Los Angeles, Orange County,” he explained.

Levenson said HomeFed Corp worked closely with the County of San Diego and State of California to develop a plan to mitigate the methane wherever it was detected.

“Other areas, it doesn’t exist at all but yet we’re mitigating under every home so everyone has peace of mind,” he said.

He expected to first Escaya homeowners to move into their new homes within the next 30-days.  In the meantime, the Otay Water District said it is not selling or installing any water meters in Escaya until HomeFed Corp finishes its mitigation.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District’s next new school is slated for Escaya. However, a district spokesman said they are in the preliminary planning phase and won’t purchase any property until it’s ready.