No date is set yet for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's well drilling in Burbank, Glendale and North Hollywood.
The EPA reported that the agency will drill a dozen new wells in Burbank, eight or nine in Glendale and nine or 10 in North Hollywood to monitor levels of hexavalent chromium.
"We presently are working with local agencies to get access authorizations to perform the drilling and well installation," EPA remedial project manager Lisa Hanusiak told Patch. "As soon as we get the green light, we be able to schedule the work."
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has criticized federal and state officials for taking too long in efforts to eliminate chromium 6 from Burbank-Glendale groundwater supplies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced plans in February to monitor levels of the carcinogenic isotope of elemental chromium in Burbank- Glendale wells next month via 30 wells.
"The EPA and California Department of Public Health lack direction for cleanup and suffer from pathetic bureaucratic inertia in establishing maximum contaminant levels for this cancer-causing element's potential threat to human health," Antonovich said. He citied reports about chromium in ground water supplies dating to 2001.
Chromium 6, considered a carcinogen if inhaled, was the chemical at the center of the movie Erin Brockovich. And while the federal EPA has proposed classifying chromium 6 as a carcinogen if ingested, the agency is still considering its health effects and has yet to set limits for the chromium 6 in drinking water.
A 2011 county study found increasing levels of chromium 6 in well water samples. The highest concentrations were found in Lancaster. But the county's top official sought to remind residents when the study was released that chromium is naturally occurring and it is reasonable to expect some level in the water supply.
"The public needs to have clear-cut standards for maximum contaminant levels and know what immediate and long-term actions are being taken to mitigate any threat to human health," Antonovich said today.
Glendale Water and Power is reducing levels of chromium in water it delivers to customers and testing longer-term solutions to eliminate the contaminant from public water supplies.
The EPA is responsible for a broader area, and the new wells are intended to test areas where the agency does not currently have data on contaminants, an EPA project manager told the Los Angeles Times.
"We just don't understand where all of the contamination is. We know there are gaps where there aren't wells installed. We want to find out whether there is or isn't contamination," EPA remedial project manager Lisa Hanusiak said.
City News Service contributed to this report.