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East Ventura County Focus

SIMI VALLEY : Unstable Soil Cited in Seismic Report

October 07, 1995|MACK REED

A seismic report released this week reveals the soil in the eastern end of Simi Valley to be a somewhat unstable blend of dense dirt, fine sand and water-logged earth that helped the violent 1994 Northridge earthquake shake apart dozens of houses in the city.

The City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on a $21,000 proposal to print 300 copies of the report on the intensive geological study and distribute it to homeowners in the city's hard-hit east end.

The report by Fugro West Inc. of Ventura further says that some homes may need extra work to protect them against damage caused by fissures, soil liquefaction and other earthquake effects.

Many of those homeowners have been waiting to repair their houses until the report is finalized. Without the detailed analysis of ground instability, many homeowners have said that they fear they cannot settle insurance claims or begin rebuilding.

And city officials have warned that they may require homeowners to pay for individual soil studies before they can get permission to rebuild.

City Manager Mike Sedell said that the Fugro report could provide valuable information on soil stability to homeowners and to the geologists who residents might hire to study their individual lots.

In some parts of the study area--which ranged from southeastern neighborhoods near the Metrolink station to the "Texas tract" in the northeastern section of town--the shaken soil made it impossible to tell if dirt near houses was natural or trucked in during development, the study says.

The Fugro report recommends that land under damaged homes could be stabilized in several ways: by compacting it, mixing it in place, draining out destabilizing amounts of water or injecting concrete under house foundations.

The report also offers guidelines to homeowners for choosing geologists and soil-improvement contractors who can get the rebuilding started.

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