With the push of a few buttons, the federal Superfund clean-up of Los Angeles city drinking water supplies got under way Thursday as 2,000 gallons a minute of chemically tainted ground water began coursing to the top of a steel aeration tower to be purged of traces of suspected cancer-causing solvents.
The 45-foot tower in North Hollywood was hailed by Department of Water & Power officials as “a major step forward in the clean-up and future protection of Los Angeles ground water supplies.” It will treat about 3% of the ground water pumped by the city each year.
After removal of chemical solvents, mainly trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), the water is pumped from the tower to a small reservoir about half a mile south.
Like all DWP well water from the San Fernando Valley, it will actually be served to customers in East and West Los Angeles and central city areas after blending with aqueduct water from the Owens Valley.
The Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Health Services are picking up the $2-million construction cost under the federal Superfund toxic waste clean-up program.