Superfund Project to Deliver Massive Water Supply Boon to Los Angeles

Hayley Smith reports for the Los Angeles Times on a major breakthrough for resilience in the nation’s second largest city: the city of Los Angeles is nearing completion on a $600 million project to restore groundwater supplies in the San Fernando Valley.

“Nearly 70% of the city’s 115 wells in the San Fernando Valley groundwater basin — the largest such basin under the purview of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power — have been sitting unused for decades after dangerous contaminants seen into the aquifer,” explains Smith.

The toxic plume in the city’s groundwater supply is a result of pollution from the aerospace, automobile, and defense industries of the region’s boom period in the 20th century. “The extent of the problem wasn’t fully uncovered until after the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 mandated increased testing and monitoring standards for drinking water,” according to the article.

The project will enable three treatment facilities to filter contaminants from the toxic plume out of the groundwater basin. Angelenos will “regain full access to up to 87,000 acre-feet of water each year, or nearly a fifth of what they consume.”

The new water supply couldn’t come at a better time, as the state and the region attempt to address the latest of a string of droughts—a trend only likely to worsen as a result of climate change. The long-term work of retrofitting the valley with permeable surfaces is not mentioned in the article.

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