Don’t Let Olin Off the Hook on Perchlorate Issue

Dear Editor:
I have appreciated the coverage the Dispatch has given over time
to the issue of perchlorate contamination in local groundwater.
  However, the Feb. 18 editorial on the subject contained one
section that concerned me. 
Dear Editor:

I have appreciated the coverage the Dispatch has given over time to the issue of perchlorate contamination in local groundwater.  However, the Feb. 18 editorial on the subject contained one section that concerned me. 

The editorial stated: “Because we can’t know what the true ‘background level’ of perchlorate is, it’s an unenforceable standard.”  I was particularly troubled by linking that with the next statement that: “However, the state of California’s health goal of 6 ppb is clear and achievable.”

The suggestion that the polluter be let off the hook because we cannot with certainty say exactly what the water quality was before the contamination should not be acceptable.  We know that there was likely no perchlorate in local groundwater before perchlorate was released from its Morgan Hill facility over a number of decades by the company that is now part of Olin. 

Many residents of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy are experiencing polluted water from perchlorate, and they have the right to have the water returned to the level it was before this contamination started, not to the level that the state has determined is a “safe” level of contamination.  This right should not be diminished simply because water quality tests might not have monitored for this substance 60 years ago.

The Regional Water Quality Control Board will require that Olin clean the groundwater basin as close to pre-discharge levels as technically and economically feasible.  The exact level will be determined by competent and dedicated water quality engineers.  Staying focused on this goal must continue to be key as we move forward as a community in addressing the perchlorate issue in South County.

John Laird, Assemblymember,

27th Assembly District

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