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Alhambra’s Contaminated Groundwater

The EPA is taking new steps to clean cancer-causing contaminates in the groundwater under Alhambra. Although the water delivered for public consumption meets federal and state drinking water standards, the agency, working with state officials, is still concerned about carcinogens. The initial source was probably chemicals used in manufacturing in the 1930s, as well as runoff from agricultural areas. When Alhambra was developed, these contaminated areas were often built over but the chemicals did not disappear. Currently, dry cleaners are a significant source of new contamination.

The next steps of the plan were explained at a public meeting at the Alhambra library on Wednesday. Rebecca Kimitch, political editor of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, provides an excellent overview of the meeting, reporting “The EPA still has approximately 100 potential contaminators to investigate. And the state Regional Water Quality Control Board is still finding contaminated soil sites, according to engineering geologist Curt Charmley.”

Alhambra resident Eric Sunada directs the newly formed San Gabriel Valley Oversight Group which is trying to provide an independent assessment of the EPA’s water sample data, health risks, and cleanup efforts. If anyone else is interested in becoming involved, more information can be found on the group’s website, www.sgvog.org.

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