• Bill requires U.S. Geological Survey of Rialto-Colton Basin
WASHINGTON, DC, May 7, 2009 -- Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of water resources and perchlorate contamination in the Inland Empire. The Inland Empire Perchlorate Ground Water Plume Assessment Act, would require the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a study of the Rialto-Colton water basin, with a specific focus on the perchlorate contaminated plume in Rialto.
"Many families in Rialto, Fontana, Colton, and throughout Southern California are concerned about the quality and safety of the water they drink," said Rep. Baca. "Perchlorate has contaminated sources in my Congressional District and other areas, making the water unsafe if it is not treated. My legislation calls for a much-needed USGS study of the Rialto-Colton water basin in order to find the best possible solutions to cleaning up the perchlorate problem in our area. "
Perchlorate, a rocket fuel additive, has been found to be present at trace levels in some Inland communities. Perchlorate is a volatile organic compound that has been found to be harmful to humans as it interferes with thyroid function. As the nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The diversity of their scientific expertise enables them to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource mangers, planners, and other customers.
In addition, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water & Power, is an original co-sponsor of the Inland Empire Perchlorate Ground Water Plume Assessment Act.
Rep. Napolitano said: "As chair of the Water & Power Subcommittee, I have been working on water quality issues across the Western United States. Perchlorate contaminated water clean up is a must to ensure our cities' delivery of clean, safe drinking water to residents. Any actions we in the federal government can take to improve water quality in the Rialto-Colton water basin will not only help the Inland Empire, but all of Southern California. I look forward to working with Rep. Baca and members of the Water & Power Subcommittee on this critical issue."
As a Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Baca also serves on the Water & Power Subcommittee.
"Left alone, the perchlorate contaminated plume in Rialto could continue to travel underground -- contaminating more wells and compromising the health of the Inland area," concluded Rep. Baca. "By providing concrete research on the Rialto-Colton water basin and perchlorate contamination, my bill can move us one step closer to finding a realistic public health solution to this problem. We must ensure our communities, neighborhoods, and families have the knowledge and the tools necessary to protect themselves from the harmful effects of perchlorate."