Los Angeles to treat contaminated groundwater to make it drinkable

Los Angeles Aqueduct at Sylmar
Los Angeles Aqueduct at Sylmar

Los Angeles is planning to reduce its huge reliance on imported water by treating contaminated groundwater and making it drinkable and safe. A whopping 90% of water for Los Angeles is imported, often hundreds of miles, from the Sacramento Delta, the Colorado River, and Owens Valley.

Obviously relying on that much imported water is not sustainable or even particularly sane. Happily, LA is working to change this.

LA’s plan calls for building one of the country’s largest groundwater treatment systems at one of its largest Superfund sites. Groundwater in the San Fernando basin has elevated levels of chromium, perchlorate, nitrates, and trichloroethylene — the result of decades of industrial operations. Ultimately, the two required treatment plants are expected to be operational by 2022. By 2035, the utility expects that this treated groundwater can be used to reduce the amount of water it imports by a factor of one-half.

This will cost at least $800 million and needs to be done. Scottsdale and Tucson in Arizona are already treating Superfund site water and making it potable.