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The San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority has adopted an accelerated plan to
clean up groundwater pollution in its Los Angeles County area. The group also
plans to seek recovery of costs, if necessary, from those responsible for the
pollution, WQA officials announced.
Adopted on a 5 to 0 vote March 6, the plan is designed to accelerate the cleanup
schedule now being pursued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The plan
recognizes that the pollution problem is so critical in some areas that
immediate action is needed to stop the spread of underground toxins before they
contaminate even more drinking water wells.
"We can't wait any longer," said Bob G. Kuhn, chairman of the board.
"Rapid action is needed now in specific areas of the basin to stem the
spread of toxins under ground. The Water Quality Authority has a mandate from
the state legislature to ensure that cleanup takes place to protect and restore
our precious groundwater supplies."
Previously, under the federal Superfund, clean up projects would have been
postponed while a lengthy federal process of negotiating settlement agreements
with the responsible polluters was completed. The WQA action instead launches a
new initiative to immediately begin these clean up projects and, if needed, seek
recovery costs later.
Recovering the water generated by cleanup facilities for beneficial use is a
high priority, rather than dumping it into channels that lead to the ocean.
Under the plan, most of the purified water would be used to restore the drinking
water supply for the 1.4 million San Gabriel Valley residents, since increasing
levels of pollution have forced the closure of dozens of drinking water wells.
The San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority was established by the State of
California in 1993 to plan, coordinate and facilitate groundwater cleanup in the
San Gabriel Basin. Over the years, the basin gradually became contaminated with
synthetic organic compounds used primarily as solvents in industrial and
commercial activities. The contamination was discovered in 1979 and large
portions of the basin were placed on the federal Superfund cleanup list in 1984.
To date, the Water Quality Authority has recovered over $8 million in cleanup
funding through voluntary agreements with responsible parties.
SOURCE: San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority