News   /   December 10, 2020   /   

OMLO Associate Chelsea Scharf Negotiates Groundwater Cleanup Agreement

OMLO Associate Chelsea Scharf recently completed the negotiation of a groundwater cleanup agreement for the Eastern Municipal Water District, securing a positive outcome for our client and a great result for the environment.

Eastern Municipal Water District (“EMWD”), an OMLO client, provides water and sewer service to approximately 800,000 residents of Riverside County. EMWD owns a groundwater well located southeast of March Air Reserve Base (MARB), downgradient of prior fire fighter training sites where Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) were used.  The perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in EMWD’s well (and two adjacent private wells) exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established lifetime health advisory level (LHA) and were taken out of service.

The U.S. Air Force assumed responsibility for the presence of PFOA and PFOS, and has worked cooperatively with EMWD to mitigate the impacts of PFOA and PFOS on the wells.,  The U.S. Air Force and EMWD have established several agreements that reimburse EMWD for the costs associated with the mitigation. The OMLO Water Practice group has assisted in negotiating and drafting several agreements to further the cleanup and mitigation effort. The most recent effort involved OMLO associate Chelsea Scharf, who recently negotiated an agreement to establish reimbursement for expenses related to EMWD’s operation and maintenance  of the wellhead treatment facility.  This agreement includes several benefits to EMWD, including reimbursement for imported water costs for replacement water during facility shutdowns, monitoring costs, and  granulated activated carbon treatment change out and disposal costs.  This agreement is renewable in the event  the presence of PFOA and/or PFOS in EMWD’s well continues to be above the applicable standards, and will fund the operation and maintenance of the well for an estimated cost of $310,000 per year or $1.55 million over the next 5 years.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) have become emerging chemicals of concern for a variety of public and private water providers nationwide. OMLO is proud of its expertise in this area, and of being a crucial team member in addressing this serious public health concern.

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