Contaminated water can't stop California sprawl

Farrell, Patrick
October 2005
High Country News;10/3/2005, Vol. 37 Issue 18, p7
This article focuses on water pollution in West Creek, California. West Creek's homes are part of an ever-growing planned community based around Valencia housing development, begun in the 1960s. While Valencia was sprouting, the nearby Whittaker-Bermite factory was producing perchlorate for Sidewinder missiles and military flares. The factory closed in 1987, but the perchlorate in the site's soil eventually leached into the aquifers on which area water suppliers rely. Between 1997 and 2002, five area wells were capped after they were found with perchlorate levels ranging from 5.9 parts per billion to more than 40 parts per billion. There are no enforceable federal standards for perchlorate, but California's Department of Health requires that the public be notified when levels in a water supply reach six parts per billion. Valencia Water Co. capped the well and made its status public. But the well will soon be online again. In 2000, five area water companies, including Valencia, sued Whittaker, several investors who want to redevelop the site, and their respective insurers. They sought at least $60 million, the cost of cleaning up perchlorate in the ground and water beneath the site.


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