The cities of Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale are in talks to jointly hire consultants to develop technology that would reduce or remove chromium 6 in ground water, a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power official said Monday.
"We are going to have to come up with new technologies or apply old technology in new ways," said Pankaj Parekh, manager of regulatory compliance for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. "City water officials believe that a joint venture like this will help accelerate these efforts."
But he said the move comes in response to recent public concerns over chromium 6 levels in San Fernando Valley water supplies.
"We will lay out the problem to the consultants and we hope that they will offer a time frame and cost to do the job," Parekh said.
Parekh could not say how close the cities are to hiring a consultant, but said DWP General Manager S. David Freeman is expected to discuss the plan at a state legislative committee hearing on the chromium 6 issue at Burbank City Hall between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. today.
Freeman is scheduled to be one of nearly two dozen officials--including health experts, state and local water regulators, water purveyors and political leaders--on hand for the joint hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, the Senate Natural Resources and Wildlife Committee and the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safe and Toxic Materials.
The hearing was called by state Sens. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles) after The Times reported that a 1998 proposal to reduce allowable amounts of chromium in water--in order to cut the levels of its toxic byproduct, chromium 6--was still being studied by state officials, and that it could take another five years to implement a tougher standard.
Critics have accused the state of delaying adoption of stricter limits, but federal, state and county health officials have said that evidence suggesting chromium 6 is a carcinogen is inconclusive.
Some local water officials say the proposed tougher standard, known as a public health goal, is scientifically flawed and would mean closing dozens of wells. Such a move would cost Burbank, Los Angeles and the city of San Fernando more than $50 million to replace those water sources with imported supplies.