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Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations

Newmark Groundwater Contamination

EPA #: CAD981434517

State: California(CA)

County: San Bernardino

City: San Bernardino

Congressional District: 40

Other Names: North San Bernardino Muscoy Site San Bernardino - Muscoy Area

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Description and History

NPL Listing History

NPL Status: Final

Proposed Date: 06/24/88

Final Date: 03/31/89

Deleted Date:

The Newmark Groundwater Contamination site underlies approximately eight square miles of land in the northwestern and west-central portions of San Bernardino, California, which have been developed for light industry and residential use. The site consists of two contaminated groundwater plumes at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains: the Newmark Plume area extends for 5 miles on the eastern side of Shandin Hills, while the 4-mile long Muscoy Plume area lies to the west of Shandin Hills. The groundwater contamination from Norton Air Force Base is not considered part of this site.

Detection of the contamination occurred in 1980 with the institution of a water supply monitoring program, although the suspected disposal may have occurred as early as the 1940s. The discovery of the contaminants, including chlorinated solvents, tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and trichloroethylene (TCE), resulted in the closing of 20 water supply wells within a 6-mile radius of the site. Twelve of the wells resumed operation after the State installed air stripping towers on eight wells and carbon filtration systems on the other four.

The site covers part of an essential groundwater aquifer for the City of San Bernardino. The Bunker Hill Basin’s primary groundwater supplies water to the city and its surrounding areas. More than 25 percent of the municipal water supply for the City of San Bernardino's 175,000 residents has been affected by the advancing contamination plumes. The City of Riverside, with a population of approximately 250,000, relies on wells down gradient from the Newmark plume for approximately 75 percent of its total water supply. Over 115,000 people in the rapidly growing communities of Colton, Loma Linda, Fontana, Rialto, and several unincorporated areas also use well water unprotected from the contamination. Newmark groundwater is a primary local source of public water for the City of San Bernardino.

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Contaminants and Risks

Contaminated Media
  • Groundwater

Groundwater contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including TCE and PCE. People who drink or come into direct contact with contaminated groundwater may suffer adverse health effects.

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Who is Involved

This site is being addressed through Federal, State and municipal actions.

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Investigation and Cleanup Activities

This site is being addressed in two stages: (1) an immediate action to inhibit further spread of the two contaminant plumes (Newmark Plume and the Muscoy Plume); and, (2) long-term remedial actions addressing the Newmark Plume Area, the Muscoy Plume Area, and the source of the contamination.

Initial Actions

Immediate Action: In May 1992, the EPA conducted a soil gas investigation to evaluate the need for a removal action at a potential disposal site in a residential neighborhood. It was confirmed that a disposal trench existed but no VOCs were present. In-home air sampling confirmed that volatile contaminants from the groundwater were not detectable in residences above the contaminated groundwater. In October 1993, EPA conducted a state-of-the-art subsurface survey over several acres to investigate a potential military equipment disposal area. No buried waste was discovered.

Cleanup Ongoing

Newmark Plume Area: An investigation was initiated in 1990 to identify the source of the contaminant plume on the east side of the Shandin Hills, and to identify ways to control continued down-gradient migration of the plume while removing contaminants. The investigation determined that the contamination originated at least 2 miles upgradient of the site in another portion of the valley. An interim remedy was chosen in 1993 to pump and treat nearly 18 million gallons of contaminated water per day. This action will control the spread of contamination into clean parts of the aquifer and prevent additional contaminants from entering this part of the valley. The water will be treated by conventional activated carbon adsorption technology to meet all drinking water standards. The treated water will be delivered to the local municipal water departments, which will bear the majority of the operating costs. Design of the remedy began in 1993, property for 7 well sites was purchased in 1995 and construction was completed in October 1998. It is expected that the cleanup actions will take approximately 30 years.


Muscoy Plume Area: The investigation of the Muscoy area began in 1992, identifying the source or sources of contamination and determining how to control the migration of the plume. In 1994, the EPA separated the Muscoy Area into two projects: the Muscoy Plume, targeted at controlling the spread of contamination into clean areas; and the Source project, which will address final cleanup of the source of contamination (described below). The interim remedy for the Muscoy Plume was chosen in 1995. The remedy involves pumping of approximately 9 million gallons per day from the leading edge of the plume (to prevent the further spread of contamination), treating the water with conventional technologies to drinking water standards, and delivering the treated water to local water departments. Design of the remedy began in 1995, and initial construction activities started Fall 2000. The facility began operation in 2005.

On August 18, 2004, the EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences to provide notice of changes to the 1993 and 1995 Interim Records of Decision for the site. The purpose was to supplement the existing RODs with an institutional controls program. It will assure that the Newmark and Muscoy treatment systems remain effective in meeting the objectives of capturing contaminated groundwater and inhibiting the movement of contaminated water into clean portions of the groundwater.

On August 18, 2004, a Consent Decree was lodged in the District Court which resolves a lawsuit brought by the City of San Bernardino and the Department of Toxic Substances Control against the U.S. Army over groundwater contamination. Under the settlement, the United States will pay to the City of San Bernardino $69 million. The City is required to use most of the money to operate and maintain the EPA's groundwater treatment remedies at the Newmark Superfund Site, for up to fifty years. In addition, the City will use some of the funds for other activities related to the cleanup, and build additional City treatment plants to expand its water treatment capacity.

Site Studies

Source Control: The investigation of potential groundwater contaminant source(s) has been completed. The U.S. Army settled its potential liability for contamination at the Newmark Site; the Army leased approximately 1600 acres for use as a base from 1942 until 1947 and various activity areas on the former base property were investigated as potential contaminant source areas. However, EPA has made a final determination regarding responsibility for the contamination. EPA worked with State, and San Bernardino City and County authorities to identify potential sources of groundwater contamination. Through various investigations, no ongoing sourcing at the Site or sources of contamination were identified. The Site is transitioning from a containment remedy to a restoration remedy.

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Cleanup Results to Date

After adding this site to the NPL, the EPA performed preliminary investigations and determined that no immediate actions were required at the Newmark Groundwater site while studies are ongoing and final cleanup activities are being planned. However, the San Bernardino Municipal Water Department has constructed and operated four wellhead treatment systems to ensure the safety of the public water supply. Presently, both the Newmark and Muscoy treatment systems are operating.


The second Five-Year Review Report was completed in September 2013 and concluded that the remedy at the Newmark Site is protective of human health and the environment because exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled. The third FYR is due September 2018.

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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.


On-line information about the PRPs for the site is not yet available.

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Documents and Reports


Hide details for Administrative RecordsAdministrative Records
05/19/14Newmark and Muscoy Operable Units
Consent Decree for Newmark, 2004, map and link to text
Explanation of Significant Differences (to 1993 and 1995 Records of Decision), 2004
Muscoy Plume Operable Unit
Newmark Operable Unit
Hide details for Fact SheetsFact Sheets
05/01/96La EPA los inicia obras de limpieza en el sitio
de Newmark en San Bernardino
08/01/97Groundwater Well Construction and Sampling Program Continues
03/01/98New River Update
10/01/98U.S. EPA Completes Construction of Treatment Facilities for Newmark Groundwater Contamination
02/01/00Newmark Groundwater Contamination Superfund Project--Construction Underway at Muscoy Operable Unit
05/01/00Notice of Community Meeting to Discuss EPA Well Construction Project
Una reunión para debatir sobre el proyecto de la construcción de pozos por la EPA
07/01/00Community Meeting on San Bernardino's Expansion of the 19th Street Facility / Reunion de la comunidad sobre la expansion de la planta del tratamiento de agua en calle 19
10/01/00EPA Well Project Construction to Start / EPA inicia el proyecto de construir pozos
11/01/01EPA Well Project Construction Update (English & Spanish)
04/01/04EPA Well Project Progress Update(497k)
03/01/05U.S. EPA COMPLETES CONSTRUCTION OF MUSCOY TREATMENT FACILITY.
07/31/14U.S. EPA Proposes Final Cleanup Plan
Hide details for Legal DocumentsLegal Documents
05/11/04NEWMARK & MUSCOY OPERABLE UNIT CONSENT DECREE
05/11/04NEWMARK & MUSCOY OPERABLE UNITS CONSENT DECREE STATEMENT OF WORK
12/28/07THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Plaintiff) v. THE COUNTY OF SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA (Defendant)
Hide details for MapsMaps
01/07/03All photos PDF files
Hide details for Records of DecisionRecords of Decision
08/03/93NEWMARK OU: Record of Decision
03/24/95Muscoy OU ROD: Groundwater (1995)
08/09/04Explanation of Significant Differences (to 1993 and 1995 Interim RODs), Newmark and Muscoy OUs, 2004, Newmark ESD map and guidance bibliographies
Hide details for Technical DocumentsTechnical Documents
03/12/93NEWMARK OU: RI/FS Documents
12/02/94MUSCOY OU: RI/FS Documents
07/01/97NEWMARK OU: Remedial Design Documents
09/01/04MUSCOY OU: 2003 Pumping Tests Technical Memorandum for Extraction Wells EW-108 and EW-112
09/01/04NEWMARK OU: Operation, Maintenance, and Performance Manual for Newmark Treatment System
09/01/04NEWMARK OU: Remedial Action Report
09/25/04FINAL OPERATION, MAINTENANCE, AND PERFORMANCE MANUAL
09/25/04NEWMARK OU: Interim Remedial Action Report (Volume 1)
09/23/08First Five-Year Review for Newmark Groundwater Superfund Site (Newmark and Muscoy OUs), September 2008
09/27/13Second Five-Year Review Report for Newmark Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site
05/19/14Final Technical Memorandum - Source Identification, Plume Delineation, Restoration,Timeframe Estimation and Transition from Interim to Final Remedy (excluding Appendix B)
Hide details for ArchiveArchive
There are more documents in archive...

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Public Information Repositories

The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:

John M. Pfau Library
Cal-State San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407
909-537-5090

The most complete collection of documents is the official EPA site file, maintained at the following location:

Superfund Records Center

Mail Stop SFD-7C

95 Hawthorne Street, Room 403

San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 820-4700

Enter main lobby of 75 Hawthorne street, go to 4th floor of South Wing Annex.

Additional Links

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Contacts

EPA Site Manager
Mariam Fawaz
415-972-3078
Fawaz.Mariam@epamail.epa.gov
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Carlin Hafiz
213-244-1814
1-800-231-3075
Hafiz.Carlin@epamail.epa.gov
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
415-947-8701
r9.info@epa.gov
State Contact
Stephen Niou, DTSC
714-484-5458
PRP Contact
Community Contact
Other Contacts
After Hours (Emergency Response)
US EPA
(800) 424-8802

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