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SAN BERNARDINO CELEBRATES GROUNDWATER RESTORATION

Release Date: 10/26/1998
Contact Information: Randy Wittorp, U.S. EPA (415) 744-1589, SBMWD, (909) 384-5391

Local, State and Federal Partnership gets Results
                                                       
     SAN FRANCISCO -  A plume of contamination threatening 600,000 people's water supply has been halted, due to a successful partnership between the San Bernardino Municipal Water Department, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), the California Department of Health Services, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The new groundwater treatment system will be dedicated at a ceremony on October 28 at 11:00 a.m. at the Newmark Superfund Site, 3150 North Waterman Ave., San Bernardino.

     "In arid southern California, even a gallon of water is too precious to lose to pollution," said Felicia Marcus, U.S. EPA's regional administrator.  "This project shows how well Superfund can work to protect our resources and how effectively government agencies can work together to solve community problems."

     The system will stop contaminant flow with a line of wells that act as a wall.  Here water will be pumped out of the ground and piped to a treatment plant.  If the contamination is not treated, hundreds of thousands of people could eventually be exposed to carcinogens in an arid region where no alternative water supply exists.  Cleanup costs would also escalate.

     The contaminated water supply includes eight square miles of groundwater tainted by perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene -- industrial dry cleaning, metal plating and degreasing solvents.  Immediately following discovery of the contaminants, one-third of the City of San Bernardino's water supply wells were shut down.  A State Superfund project restored most of those wells to full production between 1988 and 1992.

     The Newmark Superfund Site, listed as a national priority for cleanup in 1989, is one of the largest Superfund sites in the country.  A second cleanup phase will stop the spread of contamination west of the Shandin Hills, completing construction of treatment facilities at the Newmark site.  Treatment is expected to proceed for at least 30 years and cost about $70 million.

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