Goodrich In $21.5 Million Settlement With EPA Over Rialto Contamination

(March 29) RIALTO–Goodrich Corporation, one of five corporate entities or their successors suspected of being responsible for perchlorate contamination in the water table beneath Rialto, has entered into a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and other state and local regulatory agencies to effectuate an environmental cleanup.
Goodrich Corporation will pay no less than $21.5 million to defray the cost of the remediation of perchlorate and trichloroethylene contamination at the 160-acre B.F. Goodrich Superfund Site in northern Rialto, the Environmental Protection Agency announced March 26.
The environmental cleanup envisioned by regulatory agencies will take as long as 30 years and cost as much as $100 million to complete, as efforts to isolate and then eradicate a plume of contamination that is spreading through the water table are undertaken.
Under the terms of the settlement with the U.S. Government, Goodrich is required to both step up the monitoring and surveying of the spreading contamination as well as take active measures to remove the perchlorate and trichloroethylene from the area near Casa Grande Drive and Locust Avenue.  Goodrich will fund the installation of further groundwater monitoring wells and the carrying out of testing and engineering surveys beginning this year. That evaluation is to last at least through 2014, according to the EPA. Data collected in that testing and evaluation period  will inform the EPA’s remediation strategy, which will be submitted for public review, probably in 2015, before it is implemented.
Goodrich will partially pay for the EPA-approved facilities to be used in the cleanup. Those facilities will not be in place and fully operational until 2017 or beyond, according to the EPA.
Goodrich’s $21.5 million cost projection is just an estimate and Goodrich is committed, according to the EPA, to carry on the cleanup to completion, no matter the eventual total cost.
The EPA Superfund site in Rialto was moved onto the National Priorities List in September 2009.   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.
Perchlorate is a constituent in rocket fuel. In even minute quantities it is highly destructive to the  thyroid gland. Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, is an industrial grade solvent that is damaging to the nervous system, lungs and liver.
B.F. Goodrich produced solid-fuel rocket propellant at the site from about 1957 to 1962.
The EPA announced in December that the Defense Department and nine companies with corporate legacies or connections, direct or indirect, to the manufacturing activity in north Rialto had signed onto an agreement to pay roughly $50 million toward cleaning the 160-acre site. Emhart Industries was part of the agreement, as was Pyro Spectaculars.
The cities of Rialto and Colton, along with the county of San Bernardino are all agencies that have joined with the EPA and the California Department of Toxic Control in pursuing monetary settlements to effectuate the cleanup.
San Bernardino County, ironically, is a party that has been accused of contributing to the contamination.
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 a 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.
The county has expended over $6 million in legal fees since 2006 in seeking to persuade the courts and the regulatory agencies that it is not responsible for the contamination.

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