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State Grant Approved for Water-Treatment Plant in South Gate

June 08, 1989|LEE HARRIS | Times Staff Writer

SOUTH GATE — The state has approved a $320,000 grant to a Santa Ana company to build a water-treatment plant at one of the South Gate's six wells that has been closed by pollution.

Ultrox International, a manufacturer of water-treatment systems, would construct and run the treatment plant at a city well that has been shut down since November, 1985. The city is being asked to contribute an estimated $80,000 to the project.

The City Council is expected to discuss the project at its regular meeting June 12 and sign an agreement near the end of the month with Ultrox to get the project started, said Rollie D. Berry, director of public works for South Gate.

One-Year Project

The $400,000, one-year project is expected to get under way by July 1, said Frank Mele, project manager with the state Department of Health Services. At the end of a year, the city is expected to take over the operation of the well, which has the capacity to pump up to 926 gallons of water per minute, Berry said. But the city would have to receive approval of the Health Services department to put the water back into its system, he added.

The treatment plant would be built at the municipal well at Lee Lane near Garfield Avenue. The well was the first to be closed by the city after tests showed that tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene or PCE) exceeded the state health service's recommended limit of four parts per billion. Tetrachloroethylene levels of more than five parts per billion were detected.

Six of the city's 14 wells were shut down between November, 1985, and last December after tests showed levels of tetrachloroethylene or dichloroethylene as high as 14 parts per billion. Dichloroethylene is used to make plastic and other compounds. Both chemicals are made from petroleum.

The source of contamination is unknown.

The Ultrox treatment process, which uses ultraviolet light and ozone gases to purify the water, has been used to reduce the dangerous levels of tetrachloroethylene in another South Gate well as part of an experiment to determine its effectiveness. The project lasted a couple of weeks.

The city also is planning a $5-million treatment plant to clean up four polluted wells in South Gate Park. A rotary and air-stripping method, considered more economical than the Ultrox procedure, will be used to purify the water, Berry said. A method of treatment has not been determined for the sixth well, at Kaufmann Avenue south of Tweedy Boulevard.

City-Backed Certificates

The council voted in January to sell city-backed certificates of participation, a municipal financing tool much like bonds, to raise $11 million to build the water treatment plant, construct a storage and pumping facility on the city's Westside, and replace rusting pipelines. Revenues from water bills would be used to pay off the certificates.

The sooner the city gets its wells back in operation, the less money it will have to spend to buy outside water, officials said. The city last year paid $279,000 to the Metropolitan Water District, which supplied about 10% of the city's water.

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