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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a $37.2 million settlement with 51 companies to clean up contaminated groundwater in a 112,000-acre aquifer under San Fernando Valley.
Thursday's settlement will provide federal Superfund cleanup money to treat 7.2 million gallons of tainted water and keep it clean for the next 12 years, said Superfund project manager Bob Fitzgerald. A treatment facility for cleaning the water has already been built in nearby Glendale.
Before the contamination was discovered, the was a primary source of drinking water for more than 800,000 residents in Los Angeles, as well as Burbank, La Canada and Glendale.
EPA spokesman David Schmidt said chlorinated solvents were used by aerospace and other industries in the area, which seeped into the groundwater, tainting the aquifer and making the water undrinkable. Area wells were shut down after the contamination was discovered in 1980.
When the wells were closed, Los Angeles and the other cities had to make up the difference by buying more water from other sources.
(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)