Reporting Ed Mertz
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BURBANK (CBS) — The cancer-causing chemical made infamous in a Hollywood blockbuster is now the focus of a widening federal investigation in the San Fernando Valley.
KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports wells will soon be installed in Burbank and Glendale to track the spread of a potentially toxic agent in the groundwater.
“We know that there’s hexavalent chromium contamination within the San Fernando basin, the groundwater basin,” said Lisa Hanusiack with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hanusiack said the EPA plans to install 30 wells to track the levels of chromium-6, the chemical compound made famous by the 2000 Julia Roberts film “Erin Brokovich”.
The wells will start near the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and extend east into Los Angeles and Glendale to find “where the contamination originated”, Hanusiak said.
And while the EPA has already acknowledged the presence of chromium-6 in the area, Hanusiak reassured residents of those communities that there is no need for alarm.
“The residents should not be concerned because we do routine testing to ensure the contamination is not in the drinking water supply,” she said.
Last July, state regulators agreed that an acceptable level of chromium-6 in the water supply would be 0.02 parts per billion — meaning that there would be an estimated one case of cancer for every one million people who drink tap water with that level of chromium every day for 70 years.
The cost of the $3 million project is being paid by businesses linked to the San Fernando Valley aircraft industry, including Lockheed Martin, PRC DeSoto, ITT Corp. and Goodrich, the Associated Press reported.
The EPA plans to hold a public hearing on the wells sometime in March.