Support Needed for North Basin Cleanup ̶ Comment Period Ends March 1

As part of their official rulemaking process, in January 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the addition of the Orange County North Basin, which is within the Orange County Water District (OCWD; District), to the National Priorities List (NPL). EPA is accepting public comments regarding the proposed listing during a 60-day comment period that ends on March 19, 2018. General information about the North Basin site is available on the EPA Superfund site and OCWD website.

In addition, a Myths & Facts informational flier is available that clarifies misconceptions that have surfaced regarding North Basin efforts. Some claims have been voiced in ways that are meant to incite fear in the community and protect the bottom line for less than 20 businesses, many of whom no longer do business in Orange County. It is important that stakeholders remain informed and make their comments known to EPA.

Chemical contamination consisting of industrial solvents extends five miles in length in the northern part of the Orange County Groundwater Basin. This industrial area is located in the cities of Fullerton, Anaheim and Placentia and is now referred to as the North Basin site. Drinking water served to residents and businesses in the area is safe; however, the groundwater contamination has caused drinking wells to be taken out of service.

According to EPA’s “NPL Site Narrative at Proposal,” California EPA referred the site to U.S. EPA to prevent further migration of contaminated groundwater into the area’s principal aquifer, the primary drinking water source for Orange County. Other cleanup programs that have been carried out do not adequately address the plume as a whole due to the number of sources and jurisdictions involved. Because of that, the state of California, on behalf of the governor, sent a letter to EPA on June 28, 2017, in support of placing this site on the NPL.

OCWD encourages the public to support the listing of North Basin by submitting comments to EPA before the March 19 deadline. If you have any questions, please contact Bill Hunt at whunt@ocwd.com.