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Superfund and Valley's Pollution Hot Spot

September 21, 1989

After approximately 10 years of studying the San Gabriel Valley's ground-water pollution problems, the Environmental Protection Agency will finally begin to notify those who possibly are potentially responsible polluters. I suppose we should be pleased, but hardly overjoyed, since notification does not signify that any money will become available in the near future.

Additionally, the EPA proposed a strategy for cleaning up ground water in the Whittier Narrows area so that contamination from the San Gabriel Valley basin will be prevented from spreading to the adjoining Central Water Basin.

Your Sept. 10 article insinuated that the Whittier Narrows area is "the most heavily contaminated" and that "cleanup work would be financed from companies that created the pollution." This is simply not true. The most heavily contaminated areas are north of Whittier Narrows, and the cleanup monies cannot come from companies that created the pollution because these "phantom" polluters have not been identified.

Protection of the Central Water Basin is vital, but the EPA should clean up the most polluted plumes in the San Gabriel Valley so that this heavily contaminated water will not reach Whittier Narrows.

It is a fact that no production wells in the Central Basin near Whittier Narrows have exceeded EPA or state drinking water standards. The EPA even projects that the water from these wells is expected to remain useful for at least another 30 years. In contrast, at least 25% of the wells in the main San Gabriel basin are so heavily contaminated that they have already been shut down. Why, as a first step, is EPA proposing to use Superfund money to clean up an area that is relatively clean while leaving the most heavily contaminated areas untouched?

NANCY E. ADIN

West Covina

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