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Feb. 4, 2011
Contact: City Attorney Steve Schwabauer, (209) 333-6701

Water board approves final settlements in contamination case

moving tankA State environmental agency on Thursday approved the last of Lodi's settlements related to a lengthy federal lawsuit over groundwater pollution.

By a 6-0 vote, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board approved $6.3 million in settlements that resolve liability for an industrial solvent found in the groundwater in three areas of the City: the Northern, Southern and South Central/Western plumes. The approval makes the funds available for the City to address perchloroethylene (PCE) pollution that threatens Lodi's water supply.

"I'm pleased to see we're no longer paying to fight about the problem," Lodi City Attorney Steve Schwabauer said, "we're paying to clean it up. I'm glad we've reached the end of a 22-year oddysey to deal with the root of the contamination."

Settlements over responsibility in the other plumes, Central and Busy Bee, were previously approved by the Board.

The $6.3 million in settlement funds will be used to monitor the PCE plumes to ensure that they do not reach Lodi's drinking water wells, install carbon filtration on wellheads that become affected and where necessary install treatment systems to remove the contamination at its source. 

vacuum tubesBoard members and staff congratulated Lodi representatives at Thursday's meeting for taking the action necessary to protect the safety of its water supply.

Lodi has been operating a soil vapor extraction system since 2004 in the alley bordered by Church, Pine, Oak and Pleasant streets.  Board staff noted that to date, the system has removed more than six tons of PCE from the Central Plume.

A more vigorous system, currently being installed adjacent to the alley, is expected to remove all of the PCE suspended in the Central Plume soil within three to five years (photos above right). Further wells are being planned to remove PCE that has migrated over the years away from the source alley area. The Busy Bee plume is 75 percent remediated, Schwabauer said.

Public Works Director Wally Sandelin noted that throughout the entire process Lodi has monitored its wells to prevent its citizens exposure to PCE and expressed his gratification that these funds were available to provide the additional work needed to protect Lodi's water supply.

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