Environment & Science

Politics added to water mix at agency that pays to take pollution out in San Gabriel Valley

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The water authority responsible for cleaning up contamination in the San Gabriel Basin could see a lot of new faces in the new year. Water politics from Arcadia to Pomona are taking on a heightened profile.

The San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority's been around for 17 years. Its biggest job is to find and spend money on groundwater polluted with perchlorate deep in the valley's reserves.

Some of its long-time staffers are stepping down, with costly settlements and severance packages. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that Assemblymen Ed Hernandez and Mike Eng have endorsed candidates for the water quality authority to replace long-time incumbents.

Current board members speculate that Hernandez and Eng are pushing a union-driven agenda. But the assemblymen counter that they seek more accountability. Earlier this year the board missed out on millions of dollars that could have helped pay for water cleanup.

One veteran board member's fate hangs on an upcoming election in Baldwin Park. Another threatens to resign if the politics of board membership overshadow the job the board is supposed to do.