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Release Date: 1/29/2002
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, U.S. EPA, (415) 947-4307

     Paves the way for ongoing cleanup and clean water distribution

     SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection agency brokered an agreement that was approved yesterday for cleanup of the Baldwin Park/San Gabriel Valley Superfund sites, which, when complete, will produce enough clean water to meet the needs of more than 100,000 valley homes.

     The 120-page agreement reached between seven local water companies and eight of the responsible parties outlines the relationship and expectations and will ensure the cleanup will continue for the next 15 years.  Each company must now send the agreement to its board for approval.  The first unanimous approvals by the Valley County Water District and the La Puente Valley County Water Districe were reached last night.

     "Our staff worked very hard in setting  national precedent by gaining agreement between all parties to not only clean up the contaminated groundwater, but then deliver clean drinking water to residents," said Wayne Nastri, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest Region.  "Choosing the traditional route would have meant cleaning up the groundwater without trying to satisfy local water supply needs.  This agreement does both."

     The complex agreement provides assurances to the water companies that the cleanup, which began two years ago, will continue on schedule.  The cleanup is well underway - in the last year the reponsible parties paid more than $15 million to design, construct, and operate water treatment facilities.  Another $70 million will be spent in the next 18 months to complete construction of the groundwater wells, water treatment systems, and pipelines needed for the cleanup.  The water companies are building and operating the treatment facilities and distributing the water, and the responsible parties are paying for the cleanup.

     The agreement also envisions the use of new water treatment technologies, allows for the use of Congressionally-authorized public funds, resolves several lawsuits, avoids further litigation by reimbursing the water companies more than $20 million already spent on water treatment systems, requires purchase of a $100 million environmental insurance policy, and satisfies the responsible parties' obligations under an order issued by EPA in June 2000.

     The water companies and agencies expected to approve the agreement are Valley County Water District, San Gabriel Valley Water Company, La Puente Valley County Water District, California Domestic Water Company, Suburban Water Systems, the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster, and the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority.  The responsible parties expected to approve the agreement are Aerojet-General Corporation, Azusa Land Reclamation Co., Fairchild Holding Corp., Hartwell Corp., Huffy Corp., Oil and Solvent Process Co., Reichhold Inc., and Wynn Oil Co.  

     A separate cash-out agreement between Screwmatic Inc., and J.H. Mitchell and Sons Distributors Inc., will provide additional funds.

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