Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

EPA shakes $50 million out of fireworks, flare companies for Superfund cleanup in Rialto

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Several companies will pay federal and state authorities more than $50 million towards cleaning up an industrial site in Rialto where rockets, propellant, and fireworks were made. 

The federal government says that for decades, toxic chemicals including perchlorate and a cleaning solvent seeped into the groundwater under the 160 acre property. The contamination has closed some drinking water supply wells in Rialto and neighboring Colton. (We've got more about this in an earlier entry, when the site was our Superfund Site of the Week.)

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the land a Superfund site three years ago. Now it has settled with former and current property owners, who will pay for the design, construction, and operation of wells, treatment systems and other equipment needed to clean up the groundwater. 

In the 1950s, a company now known as Emhart made flares and other pyrotechnics for the military at the site. Pyro Spectaculars has operated there since the late 70s, designing fireworks shows.  It and other responsible parties will give money to Rialto, Colton, and the county for cleanup too.

According to the EPA, federal officials are close to a third settlement, with B.F. Goodrich, which  made rocket propellant at the site in the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

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