Last week we blogged that Navy and Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) officials had declared Irvine's drinking water safe at a presentation before the Orange County Great Park board--despite an acknowledged polluted plume under parts of the city and its source, the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station base that will become the Great Park.
"After he reviewed the tape of your actors' 'performance,' he called the testimony of [the Navy's] Marc Smith and [IRWD's] Paul Cook 'highly deceptive.' My neighbors and I also hired a water expert who is keenly aware of the contamination problem in Irvine. After he saw the tape, he said, 'The Navy and IRWD guy are lying about the contamination in an effort to cover it up plain and simple.'"
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Taylor then ticked off her problems with the "ruse."
- There was no discussion about the massive plume of perchlorate on the north end of El Toro that has yet to be cleaned up. Have you forgotten about this?
- The Navy and the IRWD tried to make it look as though they have contained the plume. This is an outright lie! To verify this, go to the Heritage Park Library and look at the data that shows TCE has been detected far beyond the plume you showed on TV. It's also been spreading for years according to the Orange County Water District.
- The Navy tried to say how the contamination in the principal aquifer was "contained" and that it has not impacted our drinking water. This was another lie--a biggee! In point of fact, aquifers underground are NOT contained at all. If you do some simple research, you will find underground aquifers are interconnected--contamination from one aquifer easily migrates to others. Please, do the research, and you will see for yourself!
- The Navy tried to make it seem as though the vapors from the underground aquifer are contained, which is yet another lie! See the document from Latham & Watkins that talks about how easily these TCE vapors spread. Mind you, Latham is not a plaintiff attorney--they are defense counsel for those being sued by plaintiffs seeking compensation for TCE exposure. Go ahead, read what they are telling their clients!
- The Navy tried to make you think adding additional cleanup wells wouldn't help, which is yet another lie! They simply don't want to have to pay for the additional cost.
- What the IRWD and Navy don't bother to show on the plume map is where the IRWD drinking wells in Santa Ana are in relation to the advancing plume. Why? They don't want you to see how the migrating plume has already impacted the Santa Ana wells. In fact, the OC Metro Water District published a report in which they say concentrations of TCE have been found in these Irvine drinking water wells. Go ahead, do the research, and you will see this contaminated water has been continuously "drawn up" by the Santa Ana wells for distribution to Irvine residents. Shocking, isn't it?
- The IRWD guy tried to refute this by saying they "turned off" this contaminated well. But according to our water expert, you just can't "turn off" a contaminated well because it gets it's water from the same source as the other wells (interconnected undergound). Our water guy said, "If one well is contaminated, chances are others are also--there's no way to avoid it because of how these different wells draw water from the same source!
- The IRWD guy contradicted himself in less than two minutes! First, he talked about how the IRWD published a report that stated levels of TCE were found in the Santa Ana wells that feed Irvine drinking water. Then, he said, "There are no detectable levels of TCE in Irvine's drinking water." My neighbor's analysis of Paul's body language during this brief period indicated the highest level of deception that was clearly obvious.
- The IRWD said the source of TCE in the Santa Ana well they "turned off" was not from El Toro. This, too, is a lie. How do I know? Look at the plume map and notice the direction of the contaminated groundwater flow from El Toro--it leads right to the Santa Ana wells which are drawing this water up for direct distribution to Irvine residents!
- The Navy and the IRWD guy both said our drinking water is not contaminated. This, too, is yet another lie--the IRWD and OC Metro Water documents prove it's a lie.
- The Navy tried to make it seem as though the plume is contained, and that it has not spread. Sorry, yet another lie! If you look at the data at the library, you will see the plume is not only much larger, it's spread all the way into Santa Ana!
- The Navy admitted our groundwater is contaminated. They also said, "But that's not water Irvine is using." Oops, there goes another lie because of how underground aquifers are interconnected, and the Navy knows this full well.
- There wasn't any mention of any ongoing vapor intrusion testing OFF BASE in Woodbridge and other neighborhoods (homes, apartments, etc.). Considering how the Navy hasn't done any off-base vapor testing, how can they claim vapor intrusion isn't a problem? The answer: They don't want to pay for it!
- The Navy guy said the TCE vapors don't "come out" because the system is "self-contained." When our water guy heard that statement, he said, "that's totally bogus, and the Navy knows it--the Navy's comment is downright criminal."
- In a stack of reports I have obtained, there's a document that says our drinking water is "undrinkable" because of the TCE contamination migrating from El Toro--contamination that could take upwards of 100+ years to clean up.
- Nobody has bothered to address who is going to compensate Irvine residents atop or near the Irvine "Love Canal" plume for lost property values because of the plume. Meanwhile, Realtors continue to try to sell homes in Irvine without disclosing the contamination. What's going to happen when even a small number of Irvine residents wake up and realize their homes are worthless because their homes sit atop what is essentially an extension of an EPA Superfund "Love Canal" site?
- 30-50 years to clean up the contamination means during this time, the plume will spread even more, and more people will be exposed to migrating TCE vapors during this period putting the health of Irvine residents at even greater risk--this is entirely unacceptable. To continue to subject Irvine residents to this highly toxic poison over the next several decades is simply unconscionable!
"My neighbors and I were appalled at the level of deception demonstrated at the meeting--we could see it in the body language of both the Navy and IRWD representative," Taylor wrote. "Clearly, nobody wants to be held liable for what amounts to a HUGE problem for which the city and Great Park Board has no solution. Instead, the residents of Irvine continue to be lied to while the health and property values of Irvine residents continues to suffer."
She ended by ominously saying the presentation will be turned over to lawyers for possible future legal action.