Perchlorate – Facts or sensationalism?

Recently, our community has been hammered by several highly
critical editorials on perchlorate from a variety of points of
view.
As a member of our community who has been deeply involved in the
issue of perchlorate clean up, I welcome all perspectives, view and
opinions, especially rational suggestions about successfully
improving groundwater cleanup and restoration.
Recently, our community has been hammered by several highly critical editorials on perchlorate from a variety of points of view.

As a member of our community who has been deeply involved in the issue of perchlorate clean up, I welcome all perspectives, view and opinions, especially rational suggestions about successfully improving groundwater cleanup and restoration.

The public deserves to receive factual information and have opportunities to provide input.

Fortunately, most of the efforts regarding perchlorate contamination in our community are taking a balanced approach that is protective, yet reasonable, while promoting timely remediation.

As an example, immediately following the January 2003 shocking news that our groundwater had been contaminated, the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance (SMNA) started researching and net working.

As a result, in April 2003 the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, along with SMNA, established the Perchlorate Community Advisory Group (PCAG) and held the first of our monthly meetings.

A great deal has been accomplished since that time and the positive results are due to the skilled collaborative work of a broad cross-section of talented, persistent individuals from many levels of expertise.

The membership of PCAG consists of residents (Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy); agencies (such as Regional Board, Water District, County Agriculture, EPA research team, and local water companies), and state legislative staff.

PCAG has become a dedicated, knowledgeable, and cohesive team whose members believe the key to effective, timely problem solving is education, active listening and open-communication.

We support protective yet reasonable action, which is neither fear- nor apathy-based. PCAG’s conscientious, balanced approach has kept all responsible parties at the table working towards timely resolution.

This last point cannot be stressed enough: because our community is working with the responsible parties and agencies, we have avoided a contentious and litigious atmosphere that could have derailed all attempts for timely remediation.

In the past two years, numerous protection and remediation measures have taken place such as: free delivered water, perchlorate removal systems on five municipal wells, and recently, implementation of treatment for privately owned wells.

A large volume of vital data has been collected for remediation decisions and numerous new monitoring wells have been installed.

There are new extraction wells for prevention of continued groundwater contamination from the pollution source site, and impressive success with ‘site’ soil remediation.

Yes, there is a lot more to do, but we have come a long way.

SMNA and PCAG welcome all perspectives, views and opinions, especially rational suggestions about improving groundwater cleanup and restoration.

We encourage editorial authors and concerned community residents, to increase awareness by attending and participating in discussions at regularly scheduled PCAG meetings.

Sylvia Hamilton is a 29-year resident of the area and is the PCAG chairwoman.

Leave your comments