McKeon Introduces Legislation for Perchlorate Clean Up in SCV
(Washington, DC) -- U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) late last week introduced legislation which would authorize $35 million in additional funding to study and clean up perchlorate contamination at the former Whitaker-Bermite defense industrial site in Santa Clarita. Of the $35 million, $10 millions would be earmarked to study a long term solution to the problem of groundwater contamination as a result of perchlorate, and $25 million would be directed for clean up efforts. It is Rep. McKeon's hope that the bill, the Eastern Santa Clara River Basin Project Act (H.R. 3053), will be considered by the House in the coming months. "There are no two ways about it, perchlorate is a harmful chemical which must be eliminated from our groundwater," said Rep. McKeon. "Unfortunately, years of contamination at Whitaker-Bermite have rendered five of our wells out of service, reducing the availability of safe drinking water for our area.
"Although clean up is neither inexpensive nor easy, we must take all of the necessary steps to ensure that all of our residents have a safe and dependable source of drinking water. I am pleased to be working with the Castaic Lake Water Agency, our local leaders, and my colleagues in Congress to address this very critical issue that affects everybody in our
Whitaker-Bermite is a former defense industrial site in the center of the Santa Clarita Valley that is contaminated with various chemical compounds, including perchlorate and heavy metals, solvents, and perhaps remnants of fired munitions. Chemical compounds, specifically perchlorate, left in the soil have migrated into the Valley's groundwater system and reached the city's drinking water supply. As a result, five drinking water wells have been closed and an extensive cleanup effort is necessary to ensure the safety of the water.
For the past five years, Rep. McKeon has been working with the federal government to assist with the clean up effort. Through the three previous Energy and Water Appropriations Acts, Congress has repeatedly provided funding for the federal government's role in the clean up of this site. In 2004, with the help of local officials, Rep. McKeon was able to secure an
In order to become law, H.R. 3053 must pass in identical form in both Houses of Congress, and must be signed by the President.
Rep. McKeon represents the 25th congressional district of California, which includes Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys, portions of San Bernardino County and all of Inyo and Mono Counties.