Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
San Fernando Valley (All Areas)
EPA #: CAD980894893
County: Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Congressional District: 26
To access a copy of the SFV groundwater database or receive update notifications please contact
Gary Riley 415-972-3003
Tremayne Baker (805) 585-4312 firstname.lastname@example.org
On this page
Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 10/15/84
Final Date: 06/10/86
The San Fernando Valley Superfund Sites are located in the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley (see the map), between the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains. The San Fernando Valley is an important source of drinking water for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the cities of Glendale, Burbank, and San Fernando, La Canada- Flintridge, and the unincorporated area of La Crescenta. There are four separate areas comprising the San Fernando Superfund Sites: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.
The information on this page applies to the San Fernando Valley Superfund Sites overall. For information specific to the four individual areas, click on the links above and visit the web pages for the separate areas.
History: In 1980, after finding organic chemical contamination in the groundwater of the San Gabriel Valley, the California Department of Health Services (DHS) requested all major groundwater users to conduct tests for the presence of certain industrial chemicals in the water they were serving. The results of testing revealed volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination in the groundwater beneath large areas of the San Fernando Valley. The primary contaminants of concern were the solvents trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), widely used in variety of industries including metal plating, machinery degreasing, and dry cleaning.
TCE and PCE have been detected in a large number of production wells at levels that are above the Federal Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), which is 5 parts per billion (ppb) for each of these VOCs. The state of California MCL is also 5 ppb for TCE and PCE. MCLs are drinking water standards. Other VOC contaminants in the San Fernando Valley have also been detected above the Federal and/or State MCLs. As a result of the groundwater contamination, many production wells have been taken out of service. The water agencies of the San Fernando Valley closely monitor the quality of drinking water delivered to residents. The water meets all federal and state requirements and is safe to drink. Due to groundwater contamination, much of the drinking water delivered to residents is purchased from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California.
Nitrate, an inorganic contaminant, has also been detected in the groundwater in the San Fernando Valley, consistently at levels in excess of the MCL of 45 parts per million (ppm). Nitrate contamination may be the result of past agricultural practices and/or septic system or ammonia releases.
State and local agencies acted to provide alternative water supplies and to investigate and clean up potential sources. EPA and other agencies became involved in coordinating efforts to address the large-scale groundwater contamination. In 1984, EPA proposed four sites for inclusion on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL): Area 1 - Burbank & North Hollywood, Area 2 - Glendale/Crystal Springs, Area 3 - Verdugo and Area 4 - Pollock/Los Angeles. The original boundaries of the sites were based on drinking water wellfields that were known to be contaminated by VOCs in 1984. In 1986, the four sites were included on the NPL. EPA manages the four sites and adjacent areas where contamination has (or may have) migrated as one large site. EPA has pursued a more comprehensive approach for the investigation and cleanup of the contamination.
In 1987, EPA and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) signed a Cooperative Agreement providing federal funds to perform a remedial investigation (RI) of groundwater contamination in the San Fernando Valley.
EPA is currently focusing its efforts on four operable units (OUs) within two of the four San Fernando Valley Superfund sites to accelerate the investigation and cleanup of the study area. Each OU represents a discrete, interim contaminant remedy currently in progress throughout the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley. EPA has signed Records of Decision (RODs) for four OUs in the San Fernando Valley: North Hollywood OU (1987 and 2009) and Burbank OU (1989) within the Area 1 site, and Glendale North and South OUs (1993) within the Area 2 site. The North Hollywood OU Interim Remedy began operating in 1989, and the Burbank OU has been operational since 1996. The Glendale North and South OUs began partial operation in August 2000 and achieved full operation capacity in June 2002. While conducting the OU remedies, EPA has also conducted basinwide investigations which ultimately may lead to a basinwide final ROD.
Since completion of the remedial investigation for the San Fernando Valley in 1992, EPA has continued to monitor groundwater contamination through its Basinwide Monitoring Program. The monitoring Program consists of quarterly sampling of over 500 groundwater wells located throughout the eastern portion of the valley. Data generated from these sampling events are used to map the extent of TCE, PCE, and Nitrate contamination in groundwater.
For More Information about the history of the separate areas that comprise the San Fernando Valley Superfund site, click on the following links: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.
Site Map: Shows the location of all the individual areas that comprise the San Fernando Valley Superfund sites. click here
Photographs: These photographs depict groundwater sampling activities that occurred during a 1998 sampling event. click here
More photographs: There are also photographs available depicting activities specific to the following San Fernando Valley Superfund sites: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood (Burbank treatment plant or North Hollywood treatment plant, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo.
Contaminants and Risks
This area contains information regarding the San Fernando Valley groundwater basin as a whole. Information regarding threats and contaminants specific to the four separate areas that comprise the San Fernando Valley Superfund site can be obtained from the web pages for those separate areas: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.
Plume Maps of TCE, PCE, and Chromium
The water quality data collected through the EPA's Water Quality Monitoring Program for over 500 wells are used to map the extent of TCE, PCE, and chromium contamination in groundwater. Click here to go to the plume maps webpage.
Groundwater Quality Monitoring Reports
Since completion of the remedial investigation for the San Fernando Valley in 1992, EPA has continued to monitor groundwater contamination through its Basinwide Monitoring Program. The monitoring program consists of quarterly sampling of over 500 groundwater wells located throughout the eastern portion of the valley.
Data generated from these sampling events are used to map the extent of TCE, PCE, and Nitrate contamination in groundwater. Groundwater Quality Monitoring reports are generated periodically depending on the sampling events to present the groundwater quality results.
The report sections and tables are available in .PDF format to view and print. The figures presented in the reports are available in .JPG and .PDF file formats.
> 2007 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2006 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2005 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2004 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2003 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2002 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2001 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2000 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1999 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1998 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1997 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1996 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1995 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
Who is Involved
Investigation and Cleanup Activities
The San Fernando Valley Basinwide Operable Unit (OU) activities consist of Basinwide Field investigations, data management and groundwater modelling. The San Fernando Valley Basinwide OU supports the other San Fernando Valley OUs in all phases of the Superfund process.
Cleanup Results to Date
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 ("LA-RWQCB") conducted 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. These investigations were conducted pursuant to the LA-RWQCB's Well Investigation Program. Many of these investigations are currently in progress. For parties whose facilities the LA-RWQCB later determined that additional investigation was not required, the LA-RWQCB sent “no further action” (NFA) letters.
Additionally, EPA and the LA-RWQCB sent joint NFA letters to parties in cases where both EPA and the LA-RWQCB determined that additional investigation was not required.
Based on information provided to EPA by the RWQCB or otherwise known to EPA and the RWQCB when the joint NFA letters were issued, the entities who received the joint NFA letters were not asked by EPA or the RWQCB to participate in regional ground-water cleanup projects for the San Fernando Basin Superfund Sites. However, EPA may re-open a site investigation or request participation in regional ground-water cleanup projects, if new information becomes available or site conditions change. Click here for the list of LA-RWQCB No Further Action letter recipients and joint EPA/LA-RWQCB No Further Action letter recipients. Parties who received a joint NFA letter are noted with a "Y" in the “Joint Letter” column on the NFA Letter list.
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.
EPA sent general notice and special notice letters to parties EPA considered potential contributors to the volatile organic compound (VOC) groundwater contamination in the Area 1 - North Hollywood, and Area 2 - Glendale/Crystal Springs San Fernando Valley NPL sites. Click here for the list of General Notice and Special Notice letter recipients.
EPA may from time-to-time identify additional potentially responsible parties based on new information, or changes in site conditions.
Documents and Reports
Public Meetings: [See web pages for separate areas within the San Fernando Valley Superfund Site: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.]
Please note that the March 10, 2008, San Fernando Valley Chromium Workshop Poster Session Documents can be found in the Community Involvement subsection and the San Fernando Valley Chromium Workshop Material can be found in the Technical Documents subsection of the Documents and Reports section above.
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
Burbank Public Library,
110 North Glen Oaks Boulevard,
Burbank, CA 91502
City of Glendale Public Library,
222 East Harvard Street,
Glendale, CA 91205
City of Los Angeles Central Library
Science and Technical Department
630 West 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
EPA Site Manager
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
After Hours (Emergency Response)