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Water District Officials Dispute Stories' Views

October 25, 1990

This is in response to two articles written by Berkley Hudson (Times, Oct. 14 and 16.) The articles are very one-sided, giving the impression that the water industry is "standing still" watching the polluters continue to pollute our water supply and that the water industry is "pro-growth" and "anti-environmental." This is far from the truth.

The water industry provides water to accommodate the growth that city and county land-use and planning officials have approved. We are only supplying water to meet that growth so that the people who buy those houses or businesses can enjoy the same quality of life that all of us now have. Controlling growth is not within the purview of water agencies. This lies with the cities and the county.

Various articles published recently suggest that only our elected Assembly and state senatorial representatives, in collaboration with environmental organizations, can save us from doom. This is far from reality. The only real progress has been made by the water industry.

The ground-water pollution problem first came to light over a decade ago. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency undertook an extensive investigation and promised that it would take care of the problem. The water industry and other environmentally sensitive groups believed and trusted them and stood by anxiously awaiting the time when the cleanup would start.

After nearly a decade of studies, the EPA "threw in the towel," noting the cost could be as much as $800 million or more to clean it up. They said it's up to the local agencies to do the job.

Within months of the EPA's decision to pull out, the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District developed a plan and implemented a resolution to unite the other major water agencies in the San Gabriel Valley to form a Joint Powers Agency to clean up the basin.

Cleanup will take time. Unfortunately, the federal and state governments have already sorely tried the patience of the San Gabriel community and the water industry that serves it. When the water industry stepped forward, the frustration with earlier delays boiled over onto the water purveyors.

Where do we go from here?

There is a lot of talk about making the polluters pay. We agree. The problem is finding them. We have plenty of time to find the polluters and make them pay while the cleanup proceeds. What we need now is less talk and political rhetoric from our state representatives and more financial support.

JOSEPH C. REICHENBERGER,

Director Division III

DONALD F. CLARK,

Director Division V

San Gabriel Valley Municipal

Water District

Azusa

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