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Saugus wells flowing again

Posted: November 25, 2008 7:42 p.m.
Updated: November 26, 2008 4:59 a.m.
 
Two formerly perchlorate-tainted Saugus wells shut down for more than a decade should be pumping fresh, clean drinking water for Santa Clarita rate payers this spring, local water officials said.

Santa Clarita residents can expect to drink treated Saugus well water by April in their blend of water collected from many sources and treated by the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

"Everyone at the agency is looking forward to seeing the wells returned to service and the contaminated groundwater being treated," said Brian Folsom, the agency's engineering and operations manager. "Many engineers and agency staff have worked extremely hard to make it happen and there will certainly be a feeling of accomplishment once it happens."

In 1997, agency officials shut down the two wells on the south fork of the Santa Clara River, near the intersection of Magic Mountain Parkway and San Fernando Road, after significant levels of perchlorate were found in the water there.

Although perchlorates occur naturally, unhealthy levels of it seeped into the groundwater from the manufacturing of rocket fuel and explosives in central parts of Santa Clarita.

Whittaker-Bermite manufactured and tested munitions for decades on a nearly 1,000-acre site in Saugus.
Perchlorate has been linked to health problems in the human thyroid.

Since the wells were capped, the agency workers removed the substance from the groundwater.

The ongoing effort requires building a perchlorate treatment plant at the agency's Rio Vista Intake Pump Station on Bouquet Canyon Road overlooking Central Park, building new pumps at each of the Saugus wells and installing pipelines to connect the wells to the plant.

The undertaking is called the Groundwater Containment, Treatment and Restoration (Perchlorate Treatment) Project and is carried out by the Socal Pacific Construction Corp. under contract with the agency.

On Tuesday, members of the agency's planning and engineering committee voted to endorse a recommendation to give the job of rehabilitating the wells to Socal as well.

If approved later by the agency's board of directors, the recommendation allows General Manager Dan Masnada to amend Socal's existing contract to include spending an additional $288,562 for the
rehabilitation.

The cost is already part of the agency's capital works budget.

The agency's board of directors is expected to endorse the contract change at its next general meeting.
Masnada said agency officials expect the pipelines to be completed after the perchlorate treatment plant is built and after the Saugus well rehabilitations are done.

Socal, based in Lake Elsinore, is expected to complete its share of the work by Feb. 12.

Socal's subcontractor, the San Dimas-based General Pump Company, is expected to perform the rehabilitation and make all the pipeline connections.

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