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Contaminated groundwater meeting called 'premature'

Posted: May 15, 2014 10:09 p.m.
Updated: May 15, 2014 10:09 p.m.

Local environmentalists attending a public meeting Thursday on the proposed cleanup of contaminated groundwater on Whittaker-Bermite called the meeting “premature,” citing the exclusion of state mandated environmental documents.

About 20 people attended the meeting at Santa Clarita City Hall Thursday night during which officials with the state agency monitoring the cleanup ­— the California Department of Toxic Substances Control - explained their seven-year plan to clean up the groundwater on 996 acres in the heart of the Santa Clarita Valley.

A court reporter documented comments made publicly at the meeting. In all, six speakers expressed their opinions about the cleanup plans.

“The public cannot make comments if certain documents are missing,” said Shawn Kern, representing the local environmental group Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment.

“The Remedial Action Plan is missing some information, most prominently, some environmental CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) documents that are supposed to be in Appendix C,” Kern said. “A second public meeting should be called.”

Marlin Farley, also of SCOPE, called for department officials to extend the public meeting process to July 7.

Earlier this week, the department’s Project Manager Jose Diaz announced he would be extending the public meeting process — in which comments are documented and analyzed - until June 30 from its initial cutoff date of May 28.

Cam Noltemeyer, representing local environmental group Citizens Advisory Group, said: “This meeting is pre-mature. The documents are not where they (Toxic Substances) said they were going to be.”


The Whittaker-Bermite location — nearly 1,000 acres in the center of Santa Clarita on the hills south and east of Saugus Speedway — was a working munitions manufacturing site from the 1930s through 1980s. Its soil is contaminated in specific locations, and some of that contamination has leaked into the valley’s groundwater.

The draft’s Remedial Action Plan explained at Thursday’s public meeting addresses the cleanup of three distinct groundwater areas: the Northern Alluvium Area, the Saugus Aquifer and a spot labelled the “Perched Groundwater” area.

Diaz, project manager in charge of monitoring the cleanup, explained how each of the three areas requires its own method of water cleanup and recommended which method is the best approach for each area.

Cleanup varies according to each water area:

- Northern Alluvium Area - near the Metrolink Station on Soledad Canyon Road near Bouquet Canyon Road involves having water pass through filters called “situ permeable” materials, such as wood chips and gravel.

- Saugus Aquifer - one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s two underground reservoirs, will mean drilling 14 groundwater wells and pump up groundwater polluted with dangerous chemicals including perchlorate.

-Perched Groundwater - pools of collected water remain trapped between the surface and an aquifer by a hard rock layer, that require “drying out.”

The complete draft plan can be seen online at .


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