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Lockheed to Pay Most of Water Cleanup Cost : Environment: The firm will spend $80 million on the $86-million project to remedy contamination of Burbank’s underground supplies.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Lockheed has agreed to pay almost all of the estimated $86 million it will cost to clean up Burbank’s contaminated ground water under the federal Superfund program, company and city officials said Tuesday.

The aircraft firm will pay $80 million to help build and operate a water treatment plant that will extract and treat 12,000 gallons of contaminated ground water per minute, they said.

Burbank will then treat the discharge at the same plant and feed it into the city’s drinking water supply, according to a negotiated consent decree agreement.

Burbank will pay $2.5 million to build and operate the plant, and Weber Aircraft, another possible contributor to ground-water contamination, will put up the remaining $3.75 million, city officials said.

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The pact, which was expected to receive routine approval Tuesday night by the Burbank City Council, still must be approved and signed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department.

The federal review process is expected to last up to four months, city officials said.

The proposed site of the extraction and treatment plant is on city-owned land at 2030 N. Hollywood Way.

The agreement between Burbank, Lockheed and Weber, reached earlier this month after two years of negotiations, is one of the most significant steps in the plan to clean up chemical contamination that has shut down seven of Burbank’s 10 municipal water wells, city officials said.

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The city, which otherwise could supply its own water needs, now purchases all its water from the Metropolitan Water District.

Lockheed, Burbank and Weber have been named by the EPA’s Superfund program as “potentially responsible” for polluting ground water with the chemical solvents perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE), both thought to increase the risk of cancer if consumed in drinking water over many years.

Lockheed had offered in 1989 to pay $52 million toward the Superfund cleanup. But company spokesman Scott Hallman said Tuesday that the firm decided during negotiations that it would pay $10 million during each year of the agreement for joint operation of the plant, which is slated to last about eight years.

Assistant Burbank City Atty. Carolyn A. Barnes said it still had not been determined whether any of the 29 to 34 other local companies also designated by the EPA as “potentially responsible” will be required to contribute to the cleanup.

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