RIALTO - City officials are seeking $23 million in emergency funds from the state because of perchlorate contamination in the drinking water.

The contamination is not new nor has an emergency been officially declared, but Rialto has been battling the perchlorate for years.

It found its way into the groundwater from the past manufacturing at industrial facilities of military rockets, fireworks and other explosives.

On Aug. 29, members of the City Council met in Sacramento with a number of state officials, including Dan Dunmoyer, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's deputy chief of staff.

Dunmoyer suggested that Rialto look into declaring a state of emergency.

"It's the only way we can get emergency funds from the governor. We have to do it," said Councilman Ed Scott, concerning the possible declaration of a state of emergency.

Scott is a member of the council's perchlorate subcommittee.

The council will likely vote at its next meeting on whether to declare the emergency, he said.

Perchlorate, which could cause a number of health effects by interfering with the thyroid, has been flowing through Rialto from industrial sites on the city's north end.

It could cost hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up.

The contamination has generated more attention in Sacramento since last month, when a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge halted state hearings to determine if three companies - Pyro Spectaculars, Goodrich and Black & Decker - should have to clean some of the contamination.

The city laid out its funding request in a letter to Cindy Tuck, undersecretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

The city would use the money to stop the perchlorate from continuing to move through the Rialto Basin and contaminating more clean water.

Much of the money Rialto requested would also help the city better understand the extent of the contamination.

Rialto has developed plans that spell out what needs to be done in order to better understand the total cleanup cost and the extent of the contamination.

The city wants to use the state money to gather that information, Scott said.

Then Rialto could take out an insurance policy, and parties, such as the suspected polluters, would pay into the policy, to guarantee that the cleanup would be paid for.

"We are seeking an emergency cleanup while we urge the state to toughen its enforcement effort against the (potentially responsible parties)," reads the letter, signed by Scott and City Council member Winnie Hanson, the other member of the perchlorate subcommittee.

In another move that could provide Rialto with millions of dollars in cleanup money, the state Assembly last week amended legislation, which had already passed in the Senate, to provide about $50 million in remaining Proposition 84 money for drinking water cleanup.

The money set aside by the Assembly amendment should go to the poorest, most populated and most contaminated areas, said Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland.

Perata wrote the original bill.

"So Rialto of course is included in that group," Trost said.

Scott said he hopes Rialto can get $15 to $20 million of that money.

Both Assembly chambers were expected to vote on the legislation during an all-night session on Tuesday.

Contact writer Jason Pesick at (909) 386-3861 or via e-mail at jason.pesick@sbsun.com.


BS Ranch Perspective:

I am wondering why they are still finding ways to fix a problem that is a Health Risk to the Public, Yet according to this report the people of Rialto has been Drinking the Contaminated Water the whole time, yet they are just now getting to a point where they are coming up with a Figure where it will cost them to clean it up? So I am at a loss here, the people of Rialto either is not Informed on this subject and they don't really know what they are drinking or what they have been drinking, over this time that the city has been fighting for a bundle of cash to clean up the mess.

The other part that is funny or fishy is that there is nobody named where the $23Million is coming from to help the people ? The other part that delivers some concern is that there might be a little bit of Conflict of Interest with the City Council Member being on the Board to make sure that the City Water Department gets a whole lot of money in his, I Mean, their pockets!!  It is great that there is money that is Finally being named, for the city of Rialto.

It is weird when all the County Water Agencies, Namely West Valley Water District, which also serves a great deal of the Northern Homes and businesses in Rialto didn't have much trouble getting funding for their filtration systems that were needed to clean out the Perchlorate from the water that they had from the North End of Rialto, where they Serve, North of Baseline Ave.

Colton also was not mentioned in the Papers or their city council wasn't named in the news on Perchlorate, yet when the contamination was first mentioned Colton's water Wells were found to have Perchlorate in the wells! Perchlorate was funded and cleaned up, without any public needs regarding Colton's clean up of the Perchlorate. Fontana Water District also was fixed up and cleaned out as well! Fontana also had the Reverse Osmosis Filtration systems that were attached their wells, at the cost of approximately a $1 to $2Million a filtration system, and Fontana, has approximately six or seven lined up on Baseline alone. Yet they were not put in the News Papers, nor were they put in the News Papers with a huge story, I could be wrong and I might be, but I don't remember seeing one.

So for Rialto to be still fighting for monies that should have been paid in filtration equipment, tells me one thing that they wanted the money for something other then what it might have been intended for? I might be wrong I pray that I am wrong, but I am starting to have questions!! Especially for the amount that they are asking for. It is a good amount to start the rebuilding and change of an Airport to a new place to live.

BS Ranch!