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MASRY, BROCKOVICH TESTING LOCAL WATER.

Byline: David Greenberg Staff Writer

WESTLAKE VILLAGE - To placate concerns that Conejo Valley's drinking water might be contaminated, celebrated legal researcher Erin Brockovich and her staff are having the local supply tested for the carcinogen chromium 6.

Results from the tests, expected Wednesday, are not expected to show any problems with the water supply, according to attorney Ed Masry, Brockovich's boss, who tested the local supply three years ago and found it to be safe.

``We have absolutely no reason to believe there is anything wrong with the water,'' Masry said. ``Both Erin and I drink it. But when you get 37 phone calls, we want to put the thing to rest.''

Those calls to Masry's office came over the past two weeks from residents in Oak Park, Westlake Village, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Calabasas, he said.

Simi Valley and all but a tiny portion of Thousand Oaks get their water from the Metropolitan Water District, not from local wells.

But some residents were alarmed by reports that drinking water wells and soil at industrial sites in the San Fernando Valley might be contaminated by chromium 6, said Chrissy Albice, an assistant to Brockovich.

Last Tuesday, she and other Masry employees secretly took water samples from businesses located in the six communities the calls originated from.

``The water is in the bathroom for anyone to use,'' said Albice of her methods. ``It's public water.''

The samples will also be tested for MTBE, a gasoline byproduct.

Masry said his office will pick up the $1,200 tab for the testing, which will be conducted at a Canoga Park lab.

Through Brockovich's tenacious research, Masry's office won a $333 million settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric because the utility company's underground tanks leaked chromium 6 into the Hinkley, Calif., water supply.

The 1990 case formed the basis of the hit movie ``Erin Brockovich,'' starring Julia Roberts, earlier this year.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 30, 2000
Words:320
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