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Whittaker-Bermite groundwater cleanup moves ahead

Posted: July 1, 2014 5:39 p.m.
Updated: July 1, 2014 5:39 p.m.

The seven-year plan to clean up groundwater on the contaminated Whittaker-Bermite site will be tweaked according to comments made by concerned Santa Clarita Valley residents, according to the state agency monitoring the cleanup.

On Monday, the door closed on public comment invited, and collected, by the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control overseeing the de-contamination of 996 acres in the heart of the Santa Clarita Valley.

“The department will review all the comments received, and if necessary, make revisions to the draft Remedial Action Plan and (California Environmental Quality Act) Mitigated Negative Declaration,” department spokesman Russ Edmondson said Monday.

“All comments will be responded to in our Response to Comments document and will be added to the Remedial Action Plan as an appendix,” he said. “A copy of the Response to Comments will be sent to individuals that submitted a comment.”

Now that Santa Clarita Valley residents have had their say, plans to clean up the contaminated water on the site will go ahead, he said.

Once the water cleanup plan — called the Remedial Action Plan — is approved, contractors actually doing the work will give state officials details — called the Remedial Design — explaining how they expect to decontaminate the site’s groundwater.

“The Remedial Design contains the technical specifications and details of the water treatment system,” Edmondson said. “Once the Remedial Design is approved, construction of the treatment system will begin.”

The nearly 1,000 acres of land south of Saugus Speedway was the site of a munitions manufacturing operation for decades. The ground and the water table are contaminated with toxins.

On May 15, local environmentalists attending the department’s public meeting at Santa Clarita City Hall complained the documents presented by the department were missing important environmental information.

In response, department officials moved to include those “missing” California Environmental Quality Act documents, Edmondson said.

“Before the 30-day comment period expired, the department mailed out another public notice to over 4,000 residents notifying them ...that the CEQA documents were posted and also available for review,” he said.

“We also provided a tour of the site for the members of CAG during the public comment period,” he said, referring to the local watchdog group the Whittaker-Bermite Citizens Advisory Group.

Two public meetings are scheduled Wednesday that involve the Whittaker-Bermite cleanup. The Whittaker-Bermite Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force meets 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. at the Century Conference Room inside Santa Clarita City Hall.

The Whittaker-Bermite Citizens Advisory Group meets at 7 p.m. at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church, 26640 Bouquet Canyon Rd. in Saugus.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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