U.S. Water News Online
COVINA, Calif. --A new facility in California's San Gabriel Valley could be a valuable showcase for an innovative and cost-effective approach to cleaning up groundwater contamination.
The new facility, a joint project by Crown City Plating Co. of El Monte and Hermetic Seal Corp. of Rosemead, uses the regular industrial process of an electroplating plant to purify groundwater, removing contaminants from one of the nation's largest Superfund sites located here.
The San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority (WQA), which was created by the state legislature to coordinate the Superfund cleanup in the San Gabriel Valley, contributed $50,000 to the $200,000 project. The Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster, which administers water rights in the San Gabriel Basin, is providing up to $8,000 a year in water quality analyses. The companies are paying the remaining costs.
More than one million residents of the San Gabriel Valley depend on wells in the San Gabriel Basin as their primary source of drinking water. Portions of the basin are contaminated with volatile organic compounds, including suspected carcinogens, as a result of careless disposal of solvents many years ago.
This public/private partnership will remove the contaminants before they can descend into the area's drinking water aquifers, and will provide vital data for other cleanup work in the El Monte-Rosemead area.
The project was initiated by Robert L. Coombes, chief executive officer of Crown City Plating Co., which uses 500,000 gallons of water a day for its in-plant processes. The water normally comes from the company's own deep well that is free of contamination, but Coombes saw an opportunity to use this process to remove contaminants from the area's shallow groundwater.
For the project, Crown City Plating teamed up with Hermetic Seal Corp., its neighbor on the border between Rosemead and El Monte. Hermetic Seal drilled wells on its own property and constructed a pipeline to carry nearly 50,000 gallons of water a day across a wash and under a narrow railroad line to the Crown City plant. There the water is stored in a tank for use in the electroplating process.
"Not only does this approach offer a reasonable and affordable method of environmental cleanup," said Christopher Bateman, Vice President of Hermetic Seal Corp, "it demonstrates that when given the opportunity, local companies can voluntarily create effective and efficient solutions without jeopardizing the jobs of thousands of employees."
James A. Goodrich, executive director of the WQA, said the project will accelerate the cleanup of the San Gabriel Basin. "The technology is easy, cheap and effective," he said. "It's common sense."
Goodrich added that he hopes other companies will follow this example. "San Gabriel as a whole is made up of a lot of these types of groundwater contamination sites, and it's our goal to make sure that these sites get attention quickly and cheaply," he said.
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