Agreement to Provide 1.5 Billion Gallons of Drinking Water Per Year
LOS ANGELES (December 12, 2018) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has reached an historic settlement agreement with the Lockheed Martin Corporation under which Lockheed Martin will expand its ongoing groundwater cleanup efforts in the North Hollywood and Burbank areas of the San Fernando Valley groundwater basin. Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin will provide 4,670 acre feet, or about 1.5 billion gallons, of clean drinking water a year to LADWP.
LADWP estimates that the negotiated payment and avoided cost of replacement water will provide more than $170 million in cost savings to its ratepayers over the next 30 years.
The settlement agreement was reached as a result of LADWP’s and Lockheed Martin’s desire to avoid past piecemeal approaches to groundwater contamination cleanup in favor of a more coordinated approach to resolve the pollution issues that have plagued the important groundwater basin for decades. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) was also instrumental in allowing the parties to negotiate an alternative approach.
Lockheed Martin manufactured, assembled and tested aircraft, aerospace components and other industrial equipment from the 1920s to 1990s at facilities in the City of Burbank. The USEPA and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board previously determined that Lockheed Martin’s historical World War II and Cold War-era area operations resulted in contamination to groundwater resources in Burbank and to groundwater in the eastern area of North Hollywood, designated by USEPA as the North Hollywood Operable Unit.
“When companies contaminate our water, they ought to be the ones paying to clean it up,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This historic settlement agreement will help clean millions of gallons of groundwater in the San Fernando Basin, and expand local supplies for years to come.”
The settlement agreement puts in place the most comprehensive cleanup of groundwater in the San Fernando Basin to date, with Lockheed Martin demonstrating its ongoing commitment to fully remediate historical contamination. Under the settlement agreement, Lockheed Martin will help convey groundwater from LADWP’s North Hollywood East Branch Well Field to the Burbank Operable Unit Treatment Facility and pay for treatment so the water meets drinking water standards before being delivered to LADWP. The USEPA will oversee the cleanup work until it determines no further action is required in the currently contaminated area.
“Valley residents deserve clean water. With this agreement, we’re assuring just that — a local, reliable source of clean water, all the more important given the continuing challenges of drought and climate change,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, whose office led the negotiations that culminated in the settlement agreement. “This landmark result will yield benefits for generations to come.”
“LADWP is committed to remediating groundwater in the San Fernando Basin,” said LADWP General Manager David H. Wright. “This historic settlement agreement with Lockheed Martin means we are able to expedite the work that we are already doing to clean up our groundwater to help ensure a more sustainable water future for Los Angeles.”
“The industries that brought great middle-class jobs to the San Fernando Valley also left us with contaminated groundwater that tainted our water supply for decades, forcing us to rely on more expensive imported water. This agreement marks a significant achievement in helping Valley residents finally access the most precious resource we have right under our feet, our local water. I commend both LADWP and Lockheed Martin for upholding their responsibility to the environment and to our ratepayers,” said Los Angeles Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Chair of the City Council’s Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee.
“Lockheed Martin has worked collaboratively with the U.S. EPA and our partners in the San Fernando Valley for over 20 years on effective cleanup measures, and this agreement reflects a natural extension of that ongoing work,” said Kevin Pearson, director of Lockheed Martin’s environmental remediation program. “We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with our partners in the area to meet our cleanup commitments.”
LADWP has also entered into a separate, related agreement with Burbank, whereby Burbank will pump and treat the water and convey the treated water to LADWP, as that plant currently has unused capacity and is available for this purpose. This will be at no extra cost to LADWP as this work will be funded by Lockheed Martin.
This agreement is a testament to the USEPA’s willingness to take a different approach to dealing with the longstanding contamination issues that plague many of the state’s important groundwater basins. It allows LADWP and Lockheed Martin to work together to arrive at reasonable new approaches and joint projects that are intended to work in conjunction with USEPA’s ongoing oversight of remediation projects in the San Fernando Basin.
Lockheed Martin is completing this remediation work as part of a broader, more robust and comprehensive solution being developed in partnership with USEPA, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, LADWP, and other stakeholders.
Separately, LADWP is currently constructing the $92 million North Hollywood West Groundwater Treatment Project, one of many planned groundwater remediation projects in the San Fernando Basin.
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