Agreements Call For $2.1 Million To Cover Cleanup Costs At San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site

EPA announced on Nov. 27 separate settlements requiring companies that allegedly contributed to groundwater contamination at the San Gabriel Valley Superfund site near Los Angeles to reimburse EPA $2,136,320 and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control $16,000 for past cleanup costs.

Rathon Corp. and Chemed Corp. must reimburse $1.76 million to EPA and $14,000 to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control. The Saint-Gobain Corp. (as successor in interest to Saint-Gobain Calmar Inc.) must reimburse $376,320 to EPA and $2,000 to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control. EPA already has received approximately $10 million from prior settlements relating to the Puente Valley Operable Unit of the site.

"If approved by the court, these settlements will provide funds that EPA can use for future cleanups in San Gabriel Valley," said Keith Takata, director of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Superfund Office. "EPA is committed to ensuring that parties responsible for contamination pay to address it."

Other potentially responsible parties are implementing groundwater cleanup programs for the Puente Valley Operable Unit, estimated to cost more than $50 million over the next 10 years. The work parties are designing a groundwater cleanup system that requires installing wells to pump out contaminated groundwater to prevent it from further spreading. The extracted groundwater will be treated to remove contaminants and may be provided to a local water supply distribution system or discharged to surface water.

The Puente Valley Operable Unit of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site, Area 4, is a contaminated groundwater area in Southern California located beneath the City of Industry and portions of La Puente and Walnut. EPA listed several sections of the San Gabriel Valley as Superfund sites in 1984, including multiple areas of groundwater contaminated by volatile organic compounds.

The contaminated groundwater associated with all of the San Gabriel Valley sites lies under significant portions of Alhambra, Irwindale, La Puente, Rosemead, Azusa, Baldwin Park, City of Industry, El Monte, South El Monte, West Covina and other areas of the San Gabriel Valley. There are 45 water suppliers in the valley that use the San Gabriel Basin groundwater aquifer to provide 90 percent of the drinking water for over one million residents.

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This article originally appeared in the 11/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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