$28 million, 15-MGD groundwater treatment system for San Bernardino

The U.S. EPA and the city of San Bernardino, Calif. announced on March 24 the completion of a $28 million treatment system that will clean up billions of gallons of contaminated groundwater from the Newmark Superfund Site.

The treatment system for the site's "Muscoy Operable Unit" will prevent groundwater contaminated by volatile organic compounds from spreading to clean drinking water wells. More than 15 million gallons of contaminated water will be pumped and treated at the 19th Street Plant per day, so that the treated water can be used by the 160,000 residents living in the area.

"This system insures that the people of San Bernardino will continue to enjoy safe, clean water from a reliable source for many years into the future," said B. Warren Cocke, President of the Board of Water Commissioners for the City of San Bernardino.

The Muscoy system consists of five extraction wells, which will pump contaminated water for treatment at the expanded 19th Street Plant. In addition, a booster station at 9th Street connects the Muscoy treatment system to an existing regional water distribution system. An underground pipeline system connects all the extraction wells to the 19th Street Plant and the 9th Street booster station.

The Newmark and Muscoy areas of the Newmark Groundwater Contamination site cover approximately eight square miles of groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds such as perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). These chemicals considered carcinogenic are industrial solvents which have been commonly used for a variety of purposes including dry cleaning, metal plating and machinery degreasing.

When the contaminants were first discovered in the early 1980s, the city of San Bernardino's water supply was severely compromised. Since 1998, however, the city has been pumping millions of gallons per day from the Newmark Operable Unit, treating the water with conventional technologies and removing all contamination, and then delivering the treated water to the residents of the city of San Bernardino. The operating Newmark treatment system has treated approximately 45 billion gallons since 1998. The new Muscoy treatment system will nearly double that capacity.

For more information on the Newmark Superfund Site, visit http://www.epa.gov/Region9/cleanup/newmark/index.html

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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