Antonovich slams agencies for slow progress on chromium-6

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich today slammed public health officials for “pathetic bureaucratic inertia” in establishing new maximum allowed levels of chromium-6 in public drinking water.

The California Department of Public Health and state EPA have been working for years to establish a new “maximum contaminant level” for hexavalent chromium, which is known to cause cancer, but Antonovich said the process has been too slow.

Chromium-6 is currently regulated at under the 50-micrograms per liter, but in 2011, a proposal was submitted to reduce that to 0.02- micrograms per liter.

Antonovich’s statements, issued through his office, came days after the EPA announced plans to drill 30 new wells from Los Angeles to Glendale and Burbank to get a fuller picture of how extensive the contamination is.

An underground plume of chromium-6 contaminated water — a byproduct of the aero-tech manufacturing industry of yesteryear — has been moving through the San Fernando corridor for decades, but public health agencies have yet to settle on a long-term method for stripping the element from potable water.

Glendale Water & Power has been leading a multi-million dollar project — mostly paid for by government grants and manufacturing companies that contributed to the contamination — to test the most effective system for removing chromium.

About 20 monitoring wells already exist, but the EPA says it needs more in Glendale, Burbank and Los Angeles to test areas where data are missing.

In calling for a new status report to supervisors, Antonovich said in a statement that the number of small wells in L.A. County testing positive for chromium-6 contamination had been growing since the first report in 2001.

“The public needs to have clear-cut standards for maximum contaminant levels and know what immediate and long term actions are being taken to mitigate any threat to human health,” he said.


EPA digs into city's chromium 6 levels

-- Jason Wells, Times Community News

Twitter: @JasonBretWells

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