The drinking water situation in the (San Gabriel) Valley well deserves this newspaper's recent important stories and editorial coverage. Public exposure adds balance to special-interest issues, which may lead private companies to substitute their own interests for the public interest.
Let's share a few facts. The activists among us are urged to write a letter or place a few phone calls to curb a pending environmental abuse shown by:
1. Ninety percent of the water from your kitchen tap is pumped from the ground-water table.
2. Azusa Western landfill at Vincent and Gladstone streets, owned by Browning Ferris Industries, the largest refuse hauler in the U.S., is located inside an operating gravel quarry.
3. The gravel was deposited at the site because the area is a historical flood plain of the San Gabriel River. The site is perfect for water-spreading grounds. Spreading annual snow melt allows seepage into the ground-water table from the local mountains.
4. Five State Water Resources Board members will decide whether to issue a new operating permit allowing (landfill) expansion into a polyethylene-lined section of several dozen acres, spilling garbage further into the rock quarry.
5. The local water basin has been well documented as the most contaminated in the state, though the water pumped from most wells still meets all state, local and federal standards.
Azusa Western executives claim the lined landfill probably won't leak. This view is verified by all their consulting engineers.
The certainty closely resembles NASA's pre-Challenger attitude. Rooms full of engineering documentation and hundreds of NASA engineers proved the claim that their high-technology O-ring seals on shuttle solid rocket boosters would not leak and put the lives of astronauts at risk. The graves of the Challenger seven are silent testimony to this engineered mistake.
Why should we gamble and accept another seal and liner story told by those who stand to benefit financially from the results of a pending decision. Please join me. Call Don Maughn and the other four State Water Resources Board members in Sacramento and share your feelings. We will experience the fallout from this decision for decades. Our office in El Monte will provide the phone numbers.
Director, Upper San Gabriel Valley
Municipal Water District