The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency formally announced Friday its choice of a $69-million treatment system to clean up chemically tainted ground water in Burbank under the federal Superfund program.
The plan, tentatively approved by the agency months ago, calls for treatment of 12,000 gallons per minute of water polluted by chemical solvents, principally trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), which are believed to raise the risk of cancer if consumed in small amounts over long periods of time.
Eight extraction wells will be dug in highly contaminated areas to withdraw the water, which will pass through a series of air stripping towers. Carbon filters will be used to prevent solvent vapors that are leaving the water from getting into the air. The treated water will be used by the Burbank Public Service Department, which has lost use of municipal wells due to the contamination problem.
Formal announcement of a treatment system will allow the EPA to proceed with negotiations or legal action against companies deemed responsible for contributing to the pollution through improper disposal of chemicals or accidental spills and leaks.
The EPA last month asked 27 Burbank-area firms, including Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co., to make "a good-faith offer" to take over construction and operation of the ground-water treatment system.
The Burbank treatment system will be part of a wider Superfund cleanup of a large area of the San Fernando Valley ground-water basin stretching from North Hollywood through Burbank and Glendale. A smaller ground-water treatment system has already been constructed in North Hollywood with EPA funds, and is being operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.