Treatment Facilities to Help LADWP Deliver Up to 4.9 Billion Gallons of Clean Drinking Water Per Year
LOS ANGELES (June 29, 2021)– The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is implementing a landmark settlement agreement with Honeywell that will significantly expedite the remediation of groundwater in the San Fernando Basin (SFB) that is due to, among other factors, past industrial contamination.
As part of the historic agreement, Honeywell is designing, funding and is currently constructing groundwater treatment facilities. When fully operational, the facilities will help expand LADWP’s ongoing groundwater cleanup efforts in the North Hollywood area of the SFB by treating approximately 2.8 billion gallons of groundwater annually.
Honeywell has also agreed to treat a potential additional 2.1 billion gallons of groundwater annually, to be provided to LADWP, should groundwater in the area require additional remediation to achieve certain drinking water standards. This amounts to the potential for 4.9 billion gallons of treated water, meeting drinking water standards per year, over the lifetime of the agreement that would offset the need for LADWP to purchase the equivalent amount in imported water.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is overseeing Honeywell’s cleanup work, a period of time expected to last many decades. LADWP estimates that the avoided cost of replacement water will provide up to $717 million in cost savings to its ratepayers over the next 50 years.
“As the southland faces another dry year, the need for a resilient water supply is all the more evident. This historic settlement helps ensure that Valley residents will have an additional source of clean drinking water for decades to come,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “Our ability to draw on local sources of clean water is pivotal to a sustainable future for L.A.”
Honeywell is currently constructing the infrastructure and treatment facilities in phases:
- Phases 1A and 1B are facilities that will treat approximately
489-million gallons of groundwater, and which are scheduled to be operational by Winter 2022.
- Phases 2 and 3 are added facilities and infrastructure that will be able to treat an additional, approximately 2.3-billion gallons of groundwater, and which are scheduled to be operational by Fall 2023.
This construction is a direct result of the settlement agreement, which was reached in 2019 due to LADWP’s and Honeywell’s desire to avoid the fragmented, short-term approaches to SFB groundwater contamination cleanup used in the past. Instead, the two parties cooperated to develop a more coordinated and robust long-term approach to tackle the pollution issues that have plagued the SFB for decades, without resorting to litigation.
“The historic agreement between Honeywell and LADWP will accelerate remediation of the San Fernando aquifer. This cleanup will help to restore the full beneficial use of this critical water resource for drinking water and storage, putting the City in a stronger position to manage conditions of extreme drought in the future,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “The San Fernando aquifer is one of California’s most important water resources and its use for storage and recharge is critical to meeting LA’s goal of reaching 70% of locally sourced water by 2035. Along with other conservation measures that I initiated – including the Lankershim Groundwater project and the recent motion seeking state money for three LADWP water quality and conservation projects in the northeast San Fernando Valley – the agreement will help us to navigate the stresses on water resources in our state, which are occurring on an increasing frequency.”
“The impact of what LADWP and Honeywell were able to accomplish by coming to the table in good faith, has set the groundwork that will help us secure a more sustainable water future for Los Angeles,” said Martin L. Adams, LADWP General Manager and Chief Engineer. “This agreement will result in clean drinking water with the potential to supply more than 180,000 Angelenos on an annual basis.”
Honeywell’s predecessors manufactured and tested aircraft parts and other industrial equipment beginning in the 1940s at a facility in North Hollywood known as the Former Bendix Site. The USEPA and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that operations at several industrial facilities, including Honeywell’s predecessors’ operations at the Former Bendix Site, resulted in contamination to the groundwater resources in the area designated by USEPA as the North Hollywood Operable Unit.
“Honeywell is proud to be part of this unique and historic long-term collaboration that will advance Mayor Eric Garcetti’s goal to source 70 percent of Los Angeles’ water locally by 2035,” said Benny Dehghi, Honeywell’s Global Remediation Director. “This agreement will serve as a template for the full beneficial reuse of treated groundwater in the State of California, thanks to leadership from the Mayor, LADWP, Councilmember Paul Krekorian, and the USEPA. We will continue to work closely with LADWP and the USEPA to bring our best technical resources to this creative project, which will help revitalize the San Fernando Valley aquifer and support the City’s efforts to reduce the use of imported water.”
The Honeywell settlement agreement is the latest testament to LADWP’s dedication to restoring SFB groundwater to a sustainable, long-term resource, and protecting public health and the environment. This agreement is part of a larger, coordinated effort between LADWP and USEPA to hold responsible parties in the area accountable for their historic production of hazardous materials and the resulting groundwater contamination in the SFB.
“EPA commends Honeywell and LADWP for achieving an important settlement on the future cleanup of groundwater in the North Hollywood Operable Unit of San Fernando Valley. This is a key step towards returning the aquifer to use as a drinking water source for many people in Los Angeles,” said Enrique Manzanilla, EPA Pacific Southwest Region Superfund Director.
The Honeywell settlement is separate from a similar historic agreement LADWP reached with Lockheed Martin Corporation in late 2018. That agreement will provide 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water to LADWP annually, enough to supply more than 56,000 LA residents on an annual basis. With these two landmark settlements, LADWP, industry, and USEPA have arrived at equitable solutions to address decades-old, Cold War-era contamination issues, and have done so without resorting to litigation. The settlements provide innovative solutions that will not only clean up the SFB, but also provide significant supplies of local drinking water, reducing the City’s reliance on purchasing expensive, imported drinking water.
Finally, the Honeywell settlement agreement demonstrates USEPA’s willingness to allow novel approaches to combat longstanding contamination issues that plague many of the state’s important groundwater basins.