GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

More groundwater contamination found near Qualcomm Stadium

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 20, 2009

A KPBS news report today revealed that the plume of groundwater contamination caused by petroleum discharges at the fuel tank farm near Qualcomm Stadium is more extensive than previously identified. The petroleum discharges date back to 1986 and the Water Board had issued a clean-up and abatement order in 1992.

According to the city attorney, the deadline for removing gasoline from the soil and groundwater beneath the site is Dec. 31, 2010, and the deadline for reducing dissolved phase petroleum hydrocarbons to background water quality levels is Dec. 31, 2013. KPBS reports that the toxic discharger, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, has asked for an additional three years to clean up the newly discovered pollution. An extension of the deadline isn’t likely to be granted, although a deputy director at the Water Department admits that further delays will be inevitable.

An Environment California report says this contamination represents

the largest plume of MTBE contamination in the city. The plume, which originates from a large nearby petroleum storage facility, stretches 6,000 feet and threatens the San Diego River. City officials would like to use the polluted groundwater basin as a drinking water source by 2015. Despite its potential as a water supply, treating the contamination requires permanently discarding 60 million gallons of water from the basin each year. The water is pumped out of the basin, treated and then released to a local creek, where it ultimately flows to the ocean. The MTBE contamination costs the city 180 acre-feet in lost potential water supplies each year.

Sources for this report:

 

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