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March 23rd, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined the City of Pasadena, Calif. and NASA today to celebrate the groundbreaking for a facility that will remove perchlorate and other chemicals from the groundwater near the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Superfund site.
“The EPA is pleased to support the Monk Hill water treatment plant, which will bring clean water to the people of Pasadena and prevent further migration of perchlorate in the groundwater basin.” said Keith Takata, the U.S. EPA’s Superfund Director for the Pacific Southwest Region.
Approximately 7,000 gallons per minute of perchlorate and volatile organic compounds will be removed; this treated water will later be chloraminated and serve as drinking water for area residents.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a 176-acre site in Pasadena, placed on the EPA’s National Priorities List—also known as Superfund list—in 1992. Approximately 120,840 people live within four miles of the site, and an estimated 68,000 people obtain drinking water from municipal wells within that area. Surrounding Pasadena water wells have been shut down due to perchlorate and volatile organic compounds contamination.
Perchlorate is a component of solid rocket fuel and certain types of fertilizers, and can affect the thyroid gland. Volatile organic compounds are used decades as industrial cleaning solvents, and can cause nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, and liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage.
The City of Pasadena will own and operate the plant. NASA is funding construction and operating costs. Completion is anticipated in 2010.
Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country posing the greatest long-term threat to public health and the environment.
For more information on the EPA’s Superfund program, please visit:www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm