Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
San Fernando Valley (area 2 Glendale)
EPA #: CAD980894901
County: Los Angeles
Congressional District: 29
Other Names: (1) Crystal Springs NPL Site, (2) Glendale North & South Operable Units
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Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 10/15/84
Final Date: 06/10/86
San Fernando Valley (Area 2) is an area of contaminated groundwater covering approximately 6,680 acres near the Crystal Springs Well Field in the Cities of Los Angeles and Glendale. This area is part of the San Fernando Valley Groundwater basin, an aquifer which, prior to the discovery of contamination, had provided drinking water to over 800,000 residents of the Cities of Los Angeles, Glendale, and Burbank, and the La Crescenta Water District. Approximately three million people reside within three miles of this site.
In 1980, concentrations of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), were found to be above Federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and State Action Levels (SALs) in a number of city production wells. Those solvents were widely used in a number of industries including aerospace and defense manufacturing, machinery degreasing, dry cleaning, and metal plating. Some contaminants currently affecting the basin's water supply can be traced as far back as the 1940s, when chemical waste disposal was unregulated throughout the Valley In response to the public health threat, the cities were forced either to shut down their wells and provide alternate sources of drinking water or to blend contaminated well water with water from clean sources.
A groundwater monitoring program conducted from 1981 to 1987 revealed that over 50 percent of the water supply wells in the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley Groundwater Basin were contaminated. Approximately 50 public drinking water supply wells are located within the Area 2 site perimeter. The shutdown of these wells resulted not only in the cities turning to more expensive sources of drinking water, but in the loss of a substantial drinking water source in an area where this resource is already scarce. In 2000, a 5,000 gallon per minute (gpm) treatment plant (selected as part of the interim remedy for the site) began operation in the City of Glendale. The plant is funded by the Glendale Respondents Group (GRG) and operated by the City of Glendale with EPA oversight.
Contaminants and Risks
The groundwater is contaminated with various chlorinated VOCs, specifically trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). Exposure to the VOC contamination can occur through drinking, bathing, or cooking with contaminated groundwater. However, since the contamination was discovered, residents have been provided with alternate drinking water supplies, including imported water or groundwater mixed with imported water. The treatment plant that is part of the interim remedy produces water for Glendale that meets all state and federal drinking water standards. The ground water also contains contamination from hexavalent chromium, presently under investigation by EPA. Refer to the discussion under "Investigation and Cleanup Activities" for information about the status of the investigation.
Who is Involved
This site is being addressed through Federal, State, municipal, and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.
Investigation and Cleanup Activities
This site is being addressed in two long-term remedial phases focusing on cleanup of the groundwater in the Glendale North and South Areas and the San Fernando Basin as a whole (see San Fernando Valley (Area 1)).
Glendale North and South Operable Units (OUs): In January 1992, the EPA completed the Remedial Investigation (RI) describing the nature and extent of groundwater contamination in the Glendale North and South Areas. In April 1992, the EPA completed the Feasibility Study (FS) for the areas, and proposed cleanup plans for both areas later that year. The EPA issued the Records of Decision (RODs) in June 1993, selecting groundwater pump and treat as the interim cleanup remedy. The RODs provided for the treated water to be purveyed to the City of Glendale or another municipality willing to accept the water for distribution in their water system, or if that option was not available, the treated water would be reinjected into the aquifer or disposed of at spreading grounds.
The EPA approved the design for the remedy in 1996. The design consists of a plant capable of treating 5,000 gallons per minute (gpm) of contaminated water extracted from eight wells. Four extraction wells are located in each of the Glendale North and the Glendale South OUs. The treatment plant is located between the north and south well fields. Pre-construction activities began in 1997 and full construction began in August 1998. The plant began operating in 2000 and continues to provide clean drinking water to the city.
Glendale Chromium Operable Unit: In 2007, EPA established the Glendale Chromium Operable Unit (GCOU) to characterize emerging chromium contamination in ground water within SFV Area 2 and determine an appropriate remedial action. The Technical Documents under Documents and Reports below include a summary of the history of actions taken to investigate and address chromium contamination, titled "Actions to Address Chromium Contamination.”
EPA is working with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board-Los Angeles Region to identify and clean up sources of chromium contamination. The State of California leads oversight of the cleanups for all known or suspected chromium sources, with the exception of two presently under EPA’s oversight. Since 2003, EPA has assisted the State with contamination source investigations by providing contractor support.
EPA initiated the remedial investigation of chromium contamination in ground water in the GCOU in 2011. While EPA is leading the investigation, a group of four PRPs is assisting by performing a portion of the investigation work. During the past two years, EPA and PRPs have installed 29 new ground water monitoring wells to help evaluate the location and extent of chromium contamination. A third phase of investigation is planned for Spring 2014.
EPA will use the investigation data to assess the risks to human health and the environment posed by potential exposure to chromium contamination in ground water. Following the remedial investigation, a feasibility study will evaluate cleanup options to address chromium contamination.
The Glendale Area treatment facility treats more than seven million gallons of contaminated water daily. The treatment plant prevents further migration of the groundwater plume of VOCs and has removed more than 20,000 pounds of VOCs from groundwater since the system began operating in 2000.
The potentially responsible parties will continue to conduct site cleanup under EPA oversight. In the next years, EPA will work with responsible parties and others to address ongoing concerns related to plume capture.
Cleanup Results to Date
The use of an alternate drinking water supply and operation of the groundwater pump and treat remedy in the Glendale North and South Areas have reduced the potential of exposure to contaminated drinking water at the San Fernando Valley (Area 2) site and will continue to protect residents near this site while further cleanup activities are being planned.
Potentially Responsible Parties
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.
No-Further-Action ("NFA") Letter recipients
Under a cooperative agreement between EPA and the State Water Resources Control Board, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region ("RWQCB") is conducting assessments of facilities in the San Fernando Basin to determine the extent of solvent usage and to assess past and current chemical handling, storage and disposal practices. Based on information provided to EPA by the RWQCB, the entities who received the "No-Further-Action" letters will not be asked by EPA or the RWQCB to participate in regional ground-water cleanup projects currently planned for the San Fernando Basin Superfund Sites. These entities are no longer part of the EPA Superfund process for the San Fernando Basin sites, and the RWQCB and EPA plan no further action at these facilities. Click here for the list of No-Further-Action letter recipients.
General Notice Letter ("GNL") and Special Notice Letter ("SNL") Recipients
A GNL notifies an entity that EPA has identified the entity as a potentially responsible party ("PRP") for the purpose of Superfund response actions. Besides designating a facility or person as a PRP, the GNL is used to encourage PRP coalescence and formation of steering committees, an important step prior to negotiations with EPA for Superfund response work, both investigatory and remedial.
A SNL, in addition to designating an entity as a potentially responsible party ("PRP"), initiates a formal settlement process between EPA and the PRPs. The SNL is used to facilitate an agreement between EPA and the PRPs for the PRPs to conduct site work and to pay EPA's oversight and other response costs. The SNL requests an offer from PRPs to perform these actions and sets a formal time period for negotiations to be completed, after which EPA may unilaterally order the PRPs to undertake the site work and to pay EPA's oversight costs, and initiate a lawsuit to recover EPA's other response costs.
Click here for the list of General Notice and Special Notice letter recipients.
Documents and Reports
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
City of Glendale Public Library,
222 East Harvard Street,
Glendale, CA 91205
EPA Site Manager
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
9211 Oakdale Avenue
Chatsworth, CA 91311
GCOU Respondents Project Coordinator
1340 Reynolds Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614
After Hours (Emergency Response)