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$4-Million Contract OKd to Clean Water of Nitrates


POMONA — The Pomona City Council has awarded a $4-million contract to build the world's largest facility to remove nitrates from water.

Anthony J. Skvarek, a Water Department manager, said the plant--to be built at a reservoir at 3rd and Electra streets--will reduce the city's dependence on imported water by removing nitrates from ground water.

Nitrates have seeped into the Chino Basin from fertilizer used in citrus groves and from dairy and livestock operations in the region, he said.

Skvarek said the state prohibits the use of high-nitrate water, because of the health danger to infants under six months of age. Drinking high-nitrate water can interfere with a baby's ability to carry oxygen in the blood.

Pomona has been buying imported water from the Metropolitan Water District to blend with water drawn from local wells so that water delivered to customers is low in nitrates. But, with the cost of imported water rising, Skvarek said, it will be cheaper to build a treatment plant and depend almost entirely on water from local wells.

The city imports 28% of its water supply.

The council awarded the construction contract to Sverdrup Corp., headquartered in St. Louis. James M. Montgomery Consulting Engineers, of Pasadena, will design the system.

Skvarek said the plant should be completed in about a year. It will become the largest facility of its kind, capable of producing 15 million gallons of water a day, more than half the city's total supply on an average day.

Skvarek said a 10-million-gallon-per-day facility is under construction in Phoenix.

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