Local News

Raytheon to Install Extraction Pipes and Pumps to Remove Water Contaminants

City Council approved an agreement with the Raytheon Company that requires them to install pipes and pumps to treat groundwater contaminated by volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Hughes Aircraft Company previously owned the site northeast of the intersection of Malvern Ave. and Gilbert St, and then sold it to Raytheon.

Environmental investigation of the site discovered the presence of VOCs that pose risk to human health. If left untreated and uncontained, they could migrate into the deeper groundwater zone where the City extracts its drinking water. The nearest City water production well to the site is located approximately 4,000 feet downgradient to the site boundary. Testing at this site detected VOCs in the deepest screened parts of the well.

Map showing placement of extraction and injection wells.

Even though the VOC levels did not exceed drinking water standards, the City sought to seal off the deepest screened parts with the installation of a long cylinder of rubber mounted on a pipe that isolates the water below it from entering the well pump.

Currently the drinking water from Well 9 continues to meet all standards for protection of human health as established by the Federal and State agencies.

To mitigate these issues, the City, and the California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is requiring Raytheon to do groundwater extraction using five existing wells and four proposed new wells.

The extracted well water travels to a treatment system that consists of filtration, advanced oxidation process (AOP) and granular activated carbon. The AOP employs ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide. Once treated, the effluent would return to the groundwater aquifer through injection wells.

Drawing of extraction well.

Raytheon is required to implement this remedy to protect Fullerton’s groundwater. As part of this remedy, the City is allowing Raytheon to encroach on some City rights-of-way.

During public comment, Jane Reifer asked for more information and history on this site, as it has a long history of contamination. She noted that the company that ran Bastanchury Water had to move because of water toxicity.

No one from Council or City staff replied to her comments, and the agreement passed 5-0 with no further explanation.

1 reply »

  1. Good for Jane Riefer to ask questions. This an ongoing saga that the Observer reported on in August 2000. At that time the council allowed Raytheon to shut down cleanup efforts so Amerige Heights could be built. Later a small extraction well was located behind one of the new shopping center buildings and dumped the somewhat cleaned water into the OC Sewer system storm drains. Raytheon claimed the pollution would never reach the drinking water aquifer or migrate off site. Both things have happened by now and the airport well and possibly others were closed down years ago due to the same plume going offsite.