Water from four contaminated city wells in the Arroyo Seco is now flowing free of polluting chemicals, thanks to a water treatment plant in operation for the last month.
The $1.1-million Devil's Gate Water Treatment plant removes four volatile organic chemicals from the water by running it through two towers filled with plastic beads and equipped with air blowers. The process forces the chemicals to evaporate from the water into the air, where they are captured by granulated carbon. The process yields 7,000 gallons a minute, 10% of the city's total water supply.
The plant, officially opened Friday, was built with $3 million from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The laboratory, although not admitting responsibility for the contamination, has agreed to fund the operation for up to five years to determine if the levels of contamination require a permanent plant.