Construction on a new $40 million groundwater treatment system is underway in Puente Valley, as part of an ongoing cleanup effort at the San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site in the Los Angeles area. To kick things off, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in September to commemorate the project, which is slated for a 2020 completion.

The new treatment system will capture and remove volatile organic compounds, 1, 4 dioxane, perchlorate, and hexavalent chromium from groundwater, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation will install two miles of underground pipeline and build the groundwater treatment facility, under the direction of the EPA.

Upon completion, the new groundwater plant will remove contaminated water from underground and send it to the facility. On a daily basis, the new facility will treat more than two million gallons of groundwater, ensuring it meets state and federal drinking water standards.

San Gabriel Valley Superfund Background

In September 2011, the EPA ordered Northrup Grumman Systems Corporation to spend approximately $20 million to construct a groundwater cleanup system. The project was designed to address contamination largely caused by the former Benchmark Technology facility in the City of Industry, CA — located within the Superfund sites.

Northrup Grumman’s predecessor, TRW, Inc. owned and operated the Benchmark facility from 1968 to 1983, according to the EPA. At present, site groundwater and soil are contaminated with a variety of VOCs. When inhaled, this can expose people to hazardous substances.

The Puente Valley Superfund site — i.e., San Gabriel Valley Area 4 — is one of four in the San Gabriel Valley. The EPA designated several parts of the San Gabriel Valley as Superfund sites in 1984. It’s believed that 30 square miles of groundwater under the area could be contaminated.

Is Local Drinking Water Currently Safe?

Residents in the City of Industry and La Puente can feel confident their drinking water is safe, according to the EPA. At present, multiple drinking water companies serve the area and uphold state and federal standards.

During California drought years, Northrup Grumman, San Gabriel Valley Water Company, and Suburban Water Systems have worked together to ensure groundwater contamination did not affect the current drinking water production. More than 100 groundwater monitoring wells have been installed in the intermediate zone by the EPA and others involved in the cleanup to monitor contaminated groundwater and assess the performance of the groundwater system.

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