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'Three Cheers' Due to Water Agencies

August 31, 1989

In years past, a number of environmentalists, including the Environmental Defense Fund, have aggressively criticized Southern California water agencies for taking insufficient interest in protecting the water quality of the ground-water basins of California's Southland. This was especially the case when important industrial concerns such as Browning-Ferris Industries, chaired by the renowned William Ruckelshaus, were their adversaries.

EDF therefore feels it is appropriate to give three cheers for a job well done to the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In a highly significant and bitterly contested, but relatively under-reported, state Water Resources Control Board hearing last week, the Watermaster and MWD successfully persuaded the board to reverse a proposed board decision to grant BFI the right to expand its Azusa garbage dump directly over some of the most permeable soil in the heavily used (and already heavily polluted) San Gabriel Basin.

Southern California is running short of landfill capacity, and thus, while it must surely do much more recycling and source reduction than it does now, additional landfills probably will be needed. The place to put them, however, as MWD, the Watermaster, and now at least tentatively the state board have recognized, is not directly over the critically important San Gabriel Basin.

THOMAS J. GRAFF,

senior attorney

DIANE FISHER,

staff scientist

Environmental Defense Fund

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