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Water Agencies File Lawsuit Over 4 Contaminated Wells

November 30, 2000

SAUGUS — Four Santa Clarita water agencies filed suit Wednesday against current and former owners of the proposed 1,000-acre Porta Bella housing development, seeking cleanup or replacement of contaminated water wells.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court to force immediate steps to clean up four wells that have been shut down since 1997 because of perchlorate contamination, said Robert Sagehorn, general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

The agency, through its subsidiary, Santa Clarita Water Co., owns two of the contaminated wells. Also participating in the suit are the Newhall County Water District and the Valencia Water Co., which each own a contaminated well.

The cost of cleaning up the four wells is estimated at $35 million, Sagehorn said.

The suit was filed against Whittaker Corp., which previously owned the site, used as an ordnance plant for the production of military explosives from 1906 to 1987.

Also named are the current owners, Santa Clarita LLC and Remediation Financial Inc., a Phoenix firm that specializes in cleaning and restoring contaminated properties.

Wayne Souza, an attorney for the owners, called the suit "unfortunate" and said it would delay cleanup of contaminated ground water.

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