The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered 19 companies to clean up contaminated groundwater in the San Gabriel Valley, Calif., an undertaking that will cost $200 million to make up for years of improper handling and disposal of industrial chemicals.
EPA's order is the largest of such in California's history, coming after earlier negotiations with the companies were stalled. Last fall, the companies made an offer to the EPA to carry out cleanup, but did not turn the offer into a binding legal commitment. The order directs the companies to design, construct and operate wells and water treatment systems with the ability to treat 21,000 gallons of water per minute.
"EPA can't allow this contamination to spread any longer," said Keith Takata, regional director of the EPA's Superfund division. "These orders will clean up the groundwater and make drinking water available to the utilities that have been forced to shut down contaminated wells. Residents of San Gabriel Valley should not be forced to shoulder this burden any longer."
Chemicals such as trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, perchlorate and NDMA have threatened the water supply of San Gabriel Valley, which provides 50 billion gallons of drinking water every year to its residents.
Aerojet General Company is responsible for the largest share of the cleanup costs. Other companies Azusa Gas Systems (BFI), Huffy Corp., Waste Management, Inc. and Wynn Oil Co.
(Source: Environment News Service)