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U.S. EPA and Lockheed Martin Settle Pollution Cleanup Case in the San Fernando Valley

Release Date: 3/7/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant (415) 947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has settled a case with Lockheed Martin over its failure to operate a pump and treat system at full capacity at a Superfund site in the San Fernando Valley.

Under the terms of this settlement Lockheed does not admit to the violations involving the groundwater treatment system at Burbank Operable Unit, but it will pay $260,000 to resolve the complaint against the company.

The penalty is the largest ever imposed in EPA's Pacific Southwest Region without judicial proceedings and, according to Keith Takata, Superfund division director in the EPA's San Francisco office, it sends an important message to the community the EPA regulates.

"Although the quality of the drinking water delivered to the public was not impacted, the EPA's remedy was meant to achieve specific cleanup goals," Takata said. "These goals are important to prevent migration of contaminants and to begin to facilitate the eventual restoration
of the groundwater resource."

In 1992, Lockheed agreed to operate a large-capacity groundwater treatment system to remove trichloroethene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE) both hazardous chemicals from the groundwater at the Burbank Superfund site. The Burbank area was added to the San Fernando Valley Superfund site in 1986. Groundwater in the area is contaminated with TCE and PCE from past aerospace manufacturing operations.

The EPA determined that beginning in June 2000, Lockeed failed to operate the treatment system at the required 9,000 gallons per minute. The treatment plant operated on reduced capacity for a total of 384 days from June 2000 to July 2001.

Lockheed told the EPA that it needed to reduce the pumping rate because the groundwater levels had dropped and the system could not draw 9,000 gpm. The EPA, the California Department of Health Services and the City of Burbank and Lockeed tested the aquifer and, in July 2001, the EPA concluded there was sufficient groundwater in the area to support the full 9,000 gpm extraction.

Operating the treatment system at the required rate will ensure that the goals of the clean up are achieved.

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