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San Diego Water Board Imposes $1,095,000 Civil Liability for Failing to Cleanup Groundwater Contamination



       

By: San Diego Water Board

SAN DIEGO, Calif. Aug. 12, 2009 - On August 12, 2009 the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region (Regional Board), imposed a $1,095,000 civil liability against Ametek, Inc. for violations of a Cleanup and Abatement Order at the former Ametek/Ketema Aerospace Manufacturing Facility in El Cajon, California. The Regional Board adopted a settlement agreement that accepts $600,000 and mandates additional monetary penalties of $495,000 if specified investigation and cleanup actions are not completed to the satisfaction of the Regional Board.

A Cleanup and Abatement Order was issued in 2002 in response to groundwater contamination beneath the El Cajon Valley associated with historic aerospace manufacturing activities at the site. Waste generated during the manufacturing process resulted in contaminants including highly acidic liquid waste, spent chlorinated solvents, and appreciable amounts of various metallic wastes. This has produced the largest Trichloroethylene (TCE) plume in the San Diego Region, and the largest TCE plume in the State of California for which cleanup has not been initiated. The TCE plume is estimated to be 7000 feet long by 1600 feet wide covering approximately 257 acres of land.

The Regional Board found that responsible parties failed to properly identify the extent of the groundwater contamination plume and failed to implement appropriate cleanup and abatement measures in a reasonable amount of time. Additional penalties will be assessed if Ametek misses future cleanup deadlines.

“Today’s Board action marks the long-stalled beginning of recovery for the groundwater basin in El Cajon. We expect cleanup activities to begin without delay and to continue until the contamination and nuisance are gone; or we’ll be back with stronger penalties,” said John Robertus, Executive Officer.

The San Diego Water Board protects and restores water quality in the southwest portion of the State, including parts of San Diego, Riverside, and Orange Counties.

 

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