County To Pay $2.33 Million To Monitor Soil At Mid-Valley

The county this week agreed to pay $2.33 million to a company to carry out testing of the perchlorate contaminated soil at the Mid-Valley Landfill in Rialto.
Those tests must be conducted in conjunction with specific directives issued to the county by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control growing out of the county’s actual and potential liability from its actions with regard to the property in the 1990s.
In the late 1990s, a plume of contaminants containing perchlorate was found to be migrating through the local water table
It is believed that five corporate entities – Pyro Spectaculars, Ken Thompson Inc., Chung Ming Wong, BF Goodrich, and Emhart Industries – were engaged in manufacturing activities that resulted in the accumulation and release of the perchlorate.
Water agency officials, state officials and federal officials believe the county of San Bernardino may have engaged in activity that exacerbated the perchlorate problem.
The county runs the Mid-Valley Landfill in north Rialto.
Officials with the Rialto-based West Valley Water District and their lawyers have alleged that San Bernardino County razed and buried a hazardous waste-disposal facility at the site, an act those officials maintain was not only illegal but has worsened the contamination of the groundwater below Rialto.
Broco Inc. maintained the hazardous-waste disposal operation in northern Rialto from the mid-1960s until the late 1980s. The county purchased the property in 1994 and used it in the expansion of the Mid-Valley Sanitary Landfill.
According to attorney Barry Groveman, who represents the West Valley Water District, it appears the county simply knocked the hazardous waste facility down and spread the debris around before burying it. That action was against the law, Groveman said.
Groveman said the county was in violation of state hazardous waste handling regulations and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Burying hazardous waste and storing it without a permit is illegal.
In the area around the Broco site, Pyro Spectaculars, Ken Thompson Inc., Chung Ming Wong, BF Goodrich and Emhart Industries had operations that were ongoing in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Public health officials have identified that area as the origin of the plume of perchlorate.
Perchlorate is a product used in the manufacture of both fireworks and ordnance. In very minute quantities perchlorate can wreak havoc on the thyroid gland.
The site has been designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of its Superfund sites, which makes federal funding for the remediation available but also carries with it a requirement that the parties responsible for the contamination assist in the effort. Simultaneously, the EPA will apply the Superfund money toward the remediation. Eventually, if any of the parties deemed responsible for the contamination refuse to sponsor or otherwise pay for a share of the remediation, the EPA will sue and under federal law, any party proven responsible will be required to pay triple the cost of that portion of the clean up for which they were the contaminating party.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control in 2002, noting the historic presence of the former Broco facility, informed the county of the need to close it pursuant to regulations. The Department of Toxic Substances Control took the position that the county, as current owner of the property, was responsible for closure. The county has been working with the Department of Toxic Substances Control since that time to prepare the “closure plan” for the former Broco site, and submitted the final document on May 28, 2010. The closure plan identifies an extensive soils investigation that the county will complete.  Phase 1 of the soil sampling effort is to consist of drilling borings, soil and soil pore-gas sample collection, laboratory analyses, evaluation of the analytical data, and preparation of a report that details the methods used and results of the field and laboratory investigation.
The closue referred to pertains just to that portion of the landfill where the Broco facility was located. The landfill will remain in place.
On April 25, 2012, the county put the first phase of the soil sampling effort out to bid and the request for proposals was advertised on the county purchasing division’s web page and electronically sent to twenty-two firms. Four bids were received. Geologic Associates of San Bernardino offered to do the job for $2,383,460. Ninyo & Moore of Rancho Cucamonga made a bid for the job at $2,476,134. Advanced Earth Sciences, Inc. of Irvine bid $3,116,915 on the job.  ATC Associates, Inc. of Monterey Park’s bid came in at $3,924,698.70.
A county bid evaluation committee considered the qualifications of the four firms competing for the assignment and ranked Geo-Logic Associates as the most qualified firm to perform the services as requested in the request for proposals based on the company’s technical approach to the scope of work and experience with projects of similar nature and scope.

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