Agreement Between LADWP and Lockheed Martin to Expand San Fernando Groundwater Cleanup

By on December 19, 2018

Approximately 1.5 billion gallons of clean drinking will be forthcoming annually to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) thanks to Lockheed Martin Corporation and an historic settlement agreement between the two businesses to expand Lockheed Martin’s ongoing groundwater cleanup efforts in the North Hollywood and Burbank areas of the San Fernando Valley groundwater basin. The negotiated payment is estimated to avoid the cost of replacement water and provide $170 million in cost savings to LADWP’s ratepayers over the next 30 years.

From the 1920s to 1990s Lockheed Martin manufactured, assembled and tested aircraft, aerospace components and other industrial equipment at facilities in the city of Burbank. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board had previously determined that Lockheed Martin’s historical World War II and Cold War-era area operations had caused groundwater contamination in Burbank and to groundwater in the eastern area of North Hollywood, designated by USEPA as the North Hollywood Operable Unit.

The new agreement between LADWP and Lockheed Martin is the result of a joint desire by both entities to avoid piecemeal approaches to groundwater contamination cleanup as has been done in the past. Both businesses favored a more coordinated approach to resolve the pollution issues that have plagued the San Fernando Valley groundwater basin for decades.

“This historic settlement agreement will help clean millions of gallons of groundwater in the San Fernando Basin, and expand local supplies for years to come,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “When companies contaminate our water, they ought to be the ones paying to clean it up.”

“The industries that brought great middle-class jobs to the San Fernando Valley also left us with contaminated groundwater that tainted our water supply for decades, forcing us to rely on more expensive imported water,” said Los Angeles Councilwoman Nury Martinez, chair of the City Council’s Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee. “This agreement marks a significant achievement in helping Valley residents finally access the most precious resource we have right under our feet, our local water. I commend both LADWP and Lockheed Martin for upholding their responsibility to the environment and to our ratepayers.”

The LADWP-Lockheed Martin settlement agreement puts in place the most comprehensive cleanup of groundwater in the San Fernando Basin to date. Under the settlement agreement, Lockheed Martin will help convey groundwater from LADWP’s North Hollywood East Branch Well Field to the Burbank Operable Unit Treatment Facility. Lockheed Martin will assume all financial responsibility for the water treatment so that it meets drinking water standards before being delivered to LADWP. Lockheed Martin is committed to fully remediating its historical groundwater contamination.  The USEPA will oversee the cleanup work until it determines no further action is required in the currently contaminated area.

“Lockheed Martin has worked collaboratively with the USEPA and our partners in the San Fernando Valley for over 20 years on effective cleanup measures, and this agreement reflects a natural extension of that ongoing work,” said Kevin Pearson, director of Lockheed Martin’s environmental remediation program. “We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with our partners in the area to meet our cleanup commitments.”