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U.S. EPA and local agencies dedicate $20 million water treatment plant in Baldwin Park

Release Date: 2/18/2004
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 452-3378

The project is the culmination of a decade-long effort

LOS ANGELES The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and area elected officials today dedicated a state-of-the-art water treatment plant in Baldwin Park, Calif. that will provide up to 11 million gallons of clean drinking water a day.

Design and construction of the plant has been a joint effort between the U.S. EPA, public and private water agencies, and businesses identified as responsible for causing the contamination to the Baldwin Park section of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund site.

U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri joined federal, state and elected officials and representatives of several local water agencies to dedicate the plant at 14104 Corak St. near Francisquito and Big Dalton Avenues.

"The new Baldwin Park water treatment plant provides a great example of collaborative efforts by federal, state and local agencies. By working together, we've been able to develop and construct a new treatment plant which will provide local residents with cleaner, safer water," Nastri said.

The plant serves as an important part of the EPA's Superfund cleanup for the San Gabriel Valley and provides a significant source of clean drinking water to local residents and businesses.

The plant's state-of-the-art technology includes water treatment processes such as "air stripping," ion exchange and ultraviolet light to remove impurities such as perchlorate and volatile organic compounds from the San Gabriel Basin groundwater aquifer.

The aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for the more than 1.5 million San Gabriel Valley residents.

Perchlorate was used during the testing and manufacture of solid-fuel rockets. Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) were widely used by industry in the Azusa/Baldwin Park area for cleaning and de-greasing. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some products are known to cause cancer in humans.

Construction of the treatment plant follows more than a decade of investigation into the sources of the region's groundwater contamination, studies of the nature and extent of contamination, and complex multi-party negotiations to determine how best to carry out the cleanup of the groundwater aquifer.

The plant is the second of four treatment plants being constructed as part of the Baldwin Park Superfund cleanup. A third treatment plant is expected to be completed later this year, with the fourth plant to be built late 2005.

The EPA expects that more than $250 million will have been spent cleaning up Baldwin Park in the first 15 years of its operation.

In other parts of the San Gabriel Valley, the EPA's $12 million contamination cleanup in the Whittier Narrows area began in 2002. Additional cleanups in other parts of the San Gabriel Valley are expected to begin in the next two to three years.

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