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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

EPA Rejects Bid to Delay City Use of Disputed Water

October 14, 2000

GLENDALE — Dismissing concerns of chromium 6 contamination, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday turned down Glendale's request to delay sending treated water from a polluted underground aquifer into homes.

In a letter rejecting the request, EPA attorney Marie M. Rongone said the city must begin taking water from a new treatment plant because it was tested at or below the state standard for chromium, which is 50 parts per billion.

Rongone acknowledged the public concern over chromium 6 in the water, but said granting the extension would be inappropriate because the water met safety standards.

"Testing of the treatment system shows that the treated water will meet or be below all drinking water standards," she wrote in the letter Friday.

The EPA has made bringing the Glendale plant into full operation a priority because it is crucial in removing toxic solvents from the contaminated ground water basin in the east San Fernando Valley.

Those solvents, perchloroethylene, or PCE, and trichloroethylene, or TCE, are present at levels exceeding the EPA standards.

"We have a vested interest in having that treatment plant operate," Loren Henning, who oversees the east San Fernando Valley Superfund site for the EPA, said this week.

The plant was not designed to remove chromium or its more toxic byproduct, chromium 6.

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