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City Says Tainted Spring Is Not Linked to Landfill : Environment: Council will get report Tuesday concluding that contaminated water at park is no danger to public health.


WEST COVINA — There is no connection between the BKK landfill and contamination of a spring at nearby Galster Wilderness Park, and the tainted water is not a danger to public health, according to a city staff report that will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

Environmental Services Director Michael Miller said the state Regional Water Quality Control Board tested the water March 22 and found nothing that could endanger the public.

The spring became an issue at a March 18 city Environmental Commission meeting. Federal Environmental Protection Agency officials, while discussing the landfill, revealed that EPA consultants reported the contamination in the late 1980s.

At last week's City Council meeting, Councilman Steve Herfert demanded that city staff members investigate why contamination was only recently disclosed to the community.

The city investigated and found that the EPA told residents at a 1987 public meeting that the spring was contaminated, Miller said.

Miller said people at the commission meeting wrongly assumed the contaminate--selenium, a non-metallic chemical element that is harmful only in large quantities--came from the landfill.

He said the spring's contamination and the landfill are not linked, citing an EPA report that concluded the spring and test wells near the dump did not have the same chemical fingerprint.

After residents expressed alarm at the contamination March 18, the city closed the area around the spring until March 29, while the EPA and the state water board took samples of the water. Final results are expected within 60 days.

Councilman Richard Jennings, discussing the city's long-range financial plan at last week's council meeting, said the cash-strapped city should discuss extending the life of the landfill, which is scheduled to close in 1995. Jennings, who was supported by Councilman Benjamin Wong, said keeping the landfill open would be an alternative to raising taxes or cutting services.

The private landfill provides nearly $5 million in tax revenue to the city annually.

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