The Meaning of Hahamongna

The original settlers of the region were sometimes called the Hahamongna Indians. The word means "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley" in the native Tongva language.

Hahamongna News

Title:

NASA agrees to pay for groundwater cleanup at JPL site

Subtitle:

Date:

2005-12-07

Author:

Gary Scott, Staff Writer

Publication:

Pasadena Star News

Content:

PASADENA - NASA, which operates the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Ca ada Flintridge, has agreed to build a water treatment plant to remove the toxic chemical perchlorate from four Pasadena-owned wells.
The City Council approved the agreement Monday night, setting the stage for construction to begin sometime in 2007.

"We are finally at the point where we can pop open the champagne cork," said Councilwoman Joyce Streator, whose district includes the wells.

The agreement comes eight years after perchlorate was first detected in the Monk Hill aquifer, and follows several years of intensive negotiations in which city officials pressed NASA to take responsibility for the contamination and pay to treat the local groundwater.

Pasadena has had to close nine wells in all because of perchlorate contamination.

City officials hope Monday's agreement signals a willingness on NASA's part to pay for cleanup perchlorate contamination at a second site, the Sunset basin, where five additional wells have been taken out of service.

"We are taking responsibility in an area where we know we've had an impact," said Steve Slaten, remediation manager for NASA. He noted that NASA continues to run tests to determine whether the Sunset contamination is linked to the perchlorate dumped on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory property decades ago.

NASA recently started treating a perchlorate plume measuring 8 acres and 100 feet deep in the aquifer underlying JPL. The chemical leached into the groundwater from disposal pits near where rocket booster testing took place between the 1940s and 1960s.

Perchlorate is an oxidizing agent used in solid rocket propellent. The chemical has been shown to disrupt normal thyroid function, with the greatest concern for pregnant women.

City officials have been frustrated at the slow pace of negotiations with NASA, and expressed dismay that NASA would imply the perchlorate at the Sunset wells might come from another source.

"Who else keeps rocket fuel around here?" asked Councilman Victor Gordo.

According to the agreement, NASA will spend up to $4.9 million to design and build a water treatment facility over the Monk Hill basin, where the four wells are located.

As recompense to the city for losing access to its groundwater rights, NASA has agreed to pay $2 million to rehabilitate the wells and another $400,000 a year for six years to help subsidize the cost of pumping the water.

Additionally, the agreement calls for NASA to pay up to $2 million a year to operate the treatment plant and reimburse the city up to $900,000 a year to lease the plant.

"This is a significant step forward," said Phyllis Currie, general manager of Pasadena Water and Power, which operates the wells. However, Currie said the slow progress on an agreement has let the perchlorate plume continue to spread.

gary.scott@sgvn.com (626) 578-6300, EXT. 4458