Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
San Fernando Valley (area 4 Pollock)
EPA #: CAD980894976
County: Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Congressional District: 26
Other Names: (1) Pollock Study Area
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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 4) is an area of contaminated groundwater covering approximately 5,860 acres near the Pollock Well Field in the City of Los Angeles. 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 wastes disposal went 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 blend contaminated well water with water from clean sources.
Results of a groundwater monitoring program conducted from 1981 to 1987 revealed over 50 percent of the water supply wells in the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley Groundwater Basin were contaminated. The shutdown of these wells has 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.
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, treatment systems have been constructed for the affected drinking water supply wells that are still used, thus ensuring that the public receives clean, safe drinking water.
Investigation and Cleanup Activities
This site is being addressed in two long-term remedial phases focusing on cleanup of the groundwater in the San Fernando Basin as a whole and the Pollock Well Field project, which is being conducted by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In addition, work has been undertaken by CalEPA to mitigate soil and groundwater contamination present in the Taylor Yard area of the site
Pollock Well Field: EPA completed an interim investigation of the Pollock Well Field in April 1994. EPA concluded that selecting and implementing a Superfund remedy for the Pollock Area was not necessary because the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) planned to conduct a wellhead treatment project in the Pollock Well Field. In 1998, LADWP reactivated wells to extract and treat the groundwater. Investigations are still continuing to determine the full nature and extent of contamination at this area.
The EPA and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board entered into a Cooperative Agreement to perform an investigation of potential sources of the contamination in the San Fernando Basin.
Cleanup Results to Date
The use of an interim alternate drinking water supply and the operation of the Pollock wellhead treatment project have reduced the potential of exposure to contaminated drinking water at the San Fernando Valley (Area 4) 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.
An 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
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Library,
111 North Hope Street, Room 518
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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
After Hours (Emergency Response)