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U.S. EPA ANNOUNCES DECISION IN WHITTIER NARROWS

 SAN FRANCISCO, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced approval of plans to expand monitoring of groundwater in the Whittier Narrows area of the San Gabriel Valley Area Superfund site.
 Although the groundwater is safe and requires no cleanup at this time, the agency will install additional groundwater monitoring wells to ensure a continued protection of public health and the environment. If future monitoring results show rising contamination levels, U.S. EPA can take additional response actions such as extracting the groundwater and treating it.
 "U.S. EPA will continue to monitor the water to ensure that it remains absolutely safe for human consumption," said Jeff Zelikson, director of U.S. EPA's hazardous waste management division. "The agency has had the full cooperation and participation of local and state agencies in reaching this decision. We look forward to continuing to work with them on this project. U.S. EPA is also prepared to take other actions as necessary such as installing extraction and treatment systems if contamination levels increase to the point of where there is a threat to public health or the environment."
 The California Environmental Protection Agency, the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority, the Main San Gabriel Basin Water Master, the San Gabriel River Water Master and the Southeast Water Coalition will continue to work with U.S. EPA to coordinate monitoring activities, sharing data and planning future actions.
 The decision was made after an agency study in September 1992 concluded that drinking water in the Whittier Narrows area meets all federal and state drinking water standards and poses no unacceptable risks to human health. U.S. EPA also found that chemical concentrations in the groundwater have not increased and have remained at low levels over the last several years.
 U.S. EPA will add up to 17 new monitoring wells to its existing monitoring network and monitor the quality of groundwater in Whittier Narrows for five years. The estimated cost for the network of wells over the next five years is $5.2 million, including $900,000 for the sampling of the existing groundwater wells and $4.3 million for installing and sampling the proposed additional monitoring wells. U.S. EPA expects to begin the installation of the new monitoring wells this summer. Monitoring will take place over a five-year period to verify that no unacceptable risks are posed by future conditions. At the end of the five-year period, U.S. EPA will reevaluate the validity of the decision.
 U.S. EPA and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board will continue to identify contamination problems and work to get owners and operators to clean up the sources in the San Gabriel Valley. Investigations are underway to identify sources of contamination that may be coming from nearby areas to evaluate cleanup alternatives.
 The San Gabriel Valley Area Superfund site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984, because the groundwater is contaminated by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The NPL is U.S. EPA's list of hazardous waste sites potentially posing the greatest long-term threat to public health and the environment.
 -0- 4/2/93
 /CONTACT: Paula Bruin of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1587/


CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ST: California IN: ENV SU: EXE

TM -- SF003 -- 2560 04/02/93 13:42 EST
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Date:Apr 2, 1993
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