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U.S. EPA completes study in an area of the San Fernando Valley Superfund site; no cleanup action is required, study finds

Release Date: 11/6/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the agency believes that no cleanup action is required at the Verdugo Study area of the San Fernando Valley Superfund Site, located in the Los Angeles County's Verdugo basin.

"The EPA did an extensive study of this area and we believe that no action is necessary in the area to ensure protection of human health and the environment. The results of the study indicate that groundwater contamination in the basin is, and has been for several years, well below federal and state health requirements," explained Keith Takata, chief of the EPA's Superfund division for the Pacific Southwest. "The next step will be to delete this study area from the National Priorities List."

The Verdugo Study Area coveres an area of approximately 2,000 acres, which makes up about half of the Verdugo Basin in the eastern part of the larger San Fernando Valley Basin. The Verdugo Basin is bounded on the northeast by the San Gabriel Mountains, on the west by the Verdugo Mountains, and on the southeast by the San Rafael Hills. The study area is mainly residential and undeveloped open space.

In 1986, the EPA declared four areas inside the San Fernando Valley Basin as Superfund sites North Hollywood , Crystal Springs, Verdugo and Pollock. Two of the study areas are divided into "operable units." The North Hollywood, Crystal Springs and Pollock Study areas are now undergoing groundwater cleanup.

The EPA did find contaminants in the Verdugo Study Area groundwater samples, including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethene (PCE) and nitrates. However, current PCE contaminant levels are below the safe drinking water standards and TCE has never been detected above federal maximum contaminant levels. All the groundwater extracted from the study area used for drinking water is treated or blended by local water districts therefore reducing nitrate concentrations to levels significantly below the maximum contaminant level.

"We're confident with the results of our extended study, and we're confident that water in the Verdugo study area is safe to use and drink," Takata said.

Now that this decsion and supporting material has been released, a public comment period begins. The EPA will accept comments until Dec. 5.

On Nov. 18, the EPA will hold a public meeting to discuss groundwater quality in the Verdugo Study Area and it's proposal to take no action. Community members will have the opportunity to ask questions and give written and verbal comments. Comments may be submitted verbally or in writing at the community meeting or by mail, fax or email to Charnjit Bhullar, whose email address is Copies of the study and proposal are also available to the public.

For general information about the San Fernanado Valley Superfund sites, visit: