The Environmental Protection Agency has settled its case with
Lockheed Martin Corp. for what the agency said was the corporation’s
failure to operate groundwater cleanup at full capacity.
While the corporation did not admit fault about problems at the
treatment facility in the 2000 block of Hollywood Way, it agreed to
pay $260,000 to settle out of court.
“We both felt it was better to enter into good-faith negotiation
in an effort to resolve the dispute rather than going to court,”
Lockheed spokeswoman Gail Rymer said.
The agency’s concern was not with water quality, but with the
quantity of water being treated at the Burbank site, EPA Project
Manager Diane Strassmaier said.
“Quantity does matter over time because we want them to get it
cleaned up,” Strassmaier said.
The agency alleged from June 2000 to July 2001, the corporation
treated less than the 9,000-gallons-per-minute rate set in a 1991
agreement between the EPA and Lockheed.
Lockheed said the groundwater levels would not sustain such high
production, and that too much water was being pulled out at once, so
sand and air were coming through the treatment system.
In 1986, Burbank was added to the Superfund site, which designates
the most polluted areas in the country. Lockheed was required to
clean up hazardous chemicals released into the groundwater by
previous manufacturing operations.
The settlement money will go to the Superfund account, which is
used for cleanups all over the country, Strassmaier said.
Beginning in March 2001, the city of Burbank took over plant
operations as part of the original agreement. The Lockheed-built
plant is still operating at reduced capacity, though the city is
fixing it at the corporation’s expense, said Fred Lantz, assistant
general manager of Burbank Water and Power.