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Los Angeles

$250-Million Deal OKd to Treat Basin's Water

Health: Firms agree to build and run plants to remove pollution in the San Gabriel Valley.

May 10, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

More than 20 years after contamination was found in the vast San Gabriel Valley ground-water basin, a judge Thursday approved an accord to provide $250 million to restore water quality.

The San Gabriel Basin Watermaster, an agency established by the courts to resolve the problem, said Aerojet GenCorp., Azusa Land Reclamation Co. Inc., Fairchild Holding Corp., Hartwell Corp., Huffy Corp., Oil and Solvent Processing Co., Reichhold Inc. and Wynn Oil Co. have agreed to provide funding to build and operate six water-treatment facilities.

Carol Williams, the agency's executive officer, said the main contaminants are perchlorate, a component of rocket fuels produced by Aerojet during and after World War II, and volatile organic compounds such as industrial solvents and petroleum waste.

The basin provides about 85% of the drinking water in the San Gabriel Valley. The basin stretches from San Dimas and La Verne on the east to Alhambra and Monterey Park on the west, and from the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley on the north to the Puente Hills and Whittier Narrows area on the south. The principal area of contamination affected by the settlement stretches about five miles along the subterranean course of the San Gabriel River.

The agreement was approved by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marvin Lager after more than five years of negotiations.

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