Motorola's 52nd Street Plant Still A Superfund Site

My parents didn’t work at the 52nd street Motorola plant (now a superfund site), built in 1956 near 48th Street and McDowell Road in Pheonix, Az but I think my Grandfather did. The EPA is still testing near the site nearly 30 year later.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials told about 15 residents at a community meeting Wednesday that their preliminary test results from some spots in the Lindon Park neighborhood, near 48th Street and McDowell Road, show some soil samples had unsafe levels of two industrial cleaning chemicals.

The chemicals were used at the former Motorola plant years ago to clean machinery and other equipment.

EPA scientists said the risk to residents’ health probably was small, but they believe they need to test for chemicals inside some homes to be sure.

“The kinds of soil vapor or the soil gas concentrations that we’re seeing do not lead us to believe that you would have the kinds of levels or exposure that would cause extreme health effects,” said Gerald Hiatt, an EPA toxicologist. “We may have some exposures inside homes that are high enough to create a (health) risk over long-term exposure, but I would be very, very surprised if we saw exposures that would create acute health effects.”

The neighborhood is the focus of an EPA Superfund monitoring and cleanup effort that has been under way for more than 20 years.

Apparently there was chemical tank that leaked into the soil in the 1980. It doesn’t surprise me from what I heard from my parents and what I saw working at electronic companies in the early 1990’s in Arizona. Companies were not that concerned about such safety issues.

Motorola's 52nd Street PlantThe factory is now owned by On Semiconductor. It’s been remodeled and I couldn’t find any pictures of what the factory originally looked like except one on the semiconductor Museum’s page.

Advertisements

Ahwatukee Arizona's House Of The Future

SafariScreenSnapz001.jpg

When I was a kid growing up in Arizona one of the few memories I can recall is visiting the Ahwatukee Arizona “House of the Future” with my Cub Scout group. The house was built in 1979 at a cost $1,200,000 dollars. It was a demonstration for a planned community. It appears to have lost money every year it was sold.

Surprisingly there is no Wikipedia entry on the subject but I did find a June 23rd, 1980 article from InfoWorld on Google Book Search.

The house was designed by Charles R. Schiffner of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Built over 30 years ago it featured an advanced home automation system with five Motorola 6800 processors linked together. The system was designed by Motorola who was the major employer in Arizona at the time.

It’s important to note that the Ahwatukee home is not a computer controlled home, rather the home permits the tenant to to be in complete control of his environment, making the important decisions which will then be carried out by the microcomputer system.

That’s a quote from Charles E. Thompson, some marketing genius who seems to want to keep people from being scared of the computer controlled house. It’s also worth mentioning that 30 years later, I have been able to reproduce everything that house was capable of for a few thousand dollars and that such home automation capabilities have not yet caught on although the energy saving technologies have.

The house still exists today at 3713 Equestrian Trail, Phoenix, Az and can be seen on Google Maps. Although they gave tours back in the day for $3, I can’t seem to find any information on who the current owner is or even pictures of the interior on the internet.

Update 2016-01-14 More pictures of the house can be found at PrairieMod’s “More House Of The Future“.

Update 2012-12-27: I have found 10 photos from my trip from the early 1980’s.

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 1

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 2

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 3

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 4

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 5

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 6

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 7

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 8

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 9

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 10