Hunting a Toxin
It’s called styrene divinyl benzene.
It looks like tiny golden globes and smells faintly like motor oil.
Its job is making the Santa Clarita Valley’s groundwater near the Whittaker-Bermite site safe once more for drinking.
And it’s been hard at work for about a month now at a well in Saugus, although the toxin it’s hunting has yet to make an appearance.
The resin is packed into two large tanks next to Bouquet Canyon Road just north of the Santa Clara River. Water pumped from a Valencia Water Co. well dubbed “Q2” runs through both tanks, where the styrene divinyl benzene puts a lock on molecules of perchlorate.
Eventually, when the resin maxes out its ability to bond with perchlorate, the compound will be taken away and burned, said Tim Peschman, a product manager for the environmental services division of USFilter. A new batch of the resin will take its place.
The process is called ion exchange, and USFilter provided the equipment and know-how.
Q2 is the first well in the Santa Clarita Valley to be fitted with a perchlorate-removal system, although it was the most recent well to test positive for the contaminant.
Perchlorate is one of several toxins found on the grounds of the Whittaker-Bermite site, some 1,000 acres of land south of Saugus Speedway that were once used for the manufacture of rocket fuel and fireworks.
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