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Company will clean up San Gabriel Valley contamination

Tanks Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. has agreed to spend $21 million to clean up polluted groundwater in the San Gabriel Valley.

Under a consent decree settlement announced this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the company will pump contaminated water from beneath the City of Industry, La Puente and Walnut; build pipelines; and construct and operate a treatment plant.

The area is one of four federal Superfund sites in the San Gabriel Valley, where more than 30 square miles of the water table are polluted with solvents and degreasing agents used for decades by business and industry.

The pollution, first detected in 1979, has affected the primary source of water for more than 1 million valley residents, forcing the closure of wells and spawning a long cleanup battle.  

The settlement stems from an earlier cleanup order directed at TRW Inc., which had several facilities in the valley. The company was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2002. A Northrop spokesman said his corporation had no comment.

The EPA found 62 properties that were a source of contamination at the Superfund site. The owners of most of those previously settled with the EPA. A number of remaining firms reached an agreement with Northrop, which will treat water drawn from the intermediate groundwater zone.

The decree lasts for a decade, after which EPA attorney Dustin Minor said his agency will issue a final cleanup order.

-- Bettina Boxall

Photo: Carbon tanks used to treat contaminated groundwater in the San Gabriel Valley. Credit: U.S. EPA.

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Travel to Silverdale WA from Santa Monica CA gave me the opportunity to go through the San Fernando Valley, Past the Magic of All Mountains, up up up the Grapevine, through Central California, then the lush green Northern California mountains, then the Shock and ahhhh of Oregon’s lush green forests and farmlands, through Medford, Eugene and Portland into Washington.

We traveled through portions of the Sacramento Valley, and the San Joaquin Valley. We saw the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The daytime temperatures were from Hot to Smoldering Hot. The views of Mount Shasta were magnificent. The landscape presented vast acres of farmland. Some of the acres had grapes, some oranges, corn, other fruit, and hay. There were ranches with cattle, sheep, horses and other animals. We saw areas where land was used to produce electrical energy using wind mills. We saw land where signs were constructed with the following statement … “Blame Congress for this Dust Bowl”.

We saw water ways created by the great state of California; we saw rivers and lakes …. Including, the Sacramento River and Mount Shasta Lake. We saw water ways in Oregon … Rogue River, ….. In Washington we saw green forests, rivers, inlets and Puget Sound.

Klamath Mountains (technically part of the Siskiyou Mountains)
Pueblo Mountains
Siskiyou Mountains
Mount Saint Helens
Mount Rainier

This was a great mental health trip … beside seeing the terrain of the states on the pacific coast, I had the wonderful and fun opportunity to visit my children and grandchildren. Two of my boys are navy submariners, our daughter is a psychologist working in California at one of our regional agencies working to assist people needing a variety of services.

I learned a great deal from this trip …
1. Our states stand alone but rely on each other.
2. Our roads bare the load of our goods that our shipped from one state to another.
3. Our land, water, and air are very important to humans, and wild life.
4. The water levels of the lakes were low, very low.
5. A large area of our farm land is not in use.
6. We should look at our farm land as a resource for alternate energy source. Wind
or solar.
7. Our farms with cattle might look at the conversion of cattle dung as a new source of energy.
8. Set up waste conversion areas on the farmland to convert waste to electrical energy.
9. Let the farms be used for a variety of purposes … raising crops, cattle, other foods, solar energy, wind energy, waste conversion energy.
10. Let our rivers and oceans generate power through the use of ocean generators. Also set up islands of power using solar and wind mails.

The song … This Land is My Land … is really true as we experienced the many beautiful scenes as we traveled the California, Oregon, and Washington roads.

The problem for me is we sing this song but due we believe what we sing?
If we believe it then we must protect our land, sea and air. The cost to protect that which we depend upon for our daily existence is worth the sacrifice.

We must protect our resources so that we will guarantee a future for mankind … Our children and their children … G-d’s children. We must develop new sources of energy and make better use of our land while producing these new sources of energy.

The people of the California deserve a legislative body that is courageous, strong, positive, and creative and will bring North and South together. We must remove the challenges between Northern and Southern California. If Northern California or Southern California is weak, the entire state of California will be weak.


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