The county and the cities of Rialto and Colton have agreed to settle lawsuits related to perchlorate contamination of the Rialto-Colton Basin aquifer.

The county has agreed to treat and contain its contaminated groundwater in the western portion of the Rialto-Colton Basin and pay $4 million to Rialto and $1 million to Colton, according to a news release issued today from Fifth District County Supervisor Josie Gonzales's office.

"My main focus has always been the perchlorate contamination cleanup," Gonzales said in the news release. "This settlement will serve as a catalyst for the other key defendants in these lawsuits to focus on their efforts to resolve the groundwater pollution in the Rialto-Colton Basin."

In exchange, Rialto and Colton will dismiss all perchlorate contamination claims against the county, as well as claims against Robertson's Ready Mix Inc. and the Schulz parties.

"This is a major step towards assuring our residents clean drinking water," Rialto City Councilman Ed Scott said.

The county expects to spend tens of millions of dollars more on treatment to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement. It also agreed to provide 200 acre-feet of treated water from its treatment facility to Colton. Colton will provide 200 acre-feet of its water rights to the county for this purpose.

An acre foot of water is considered enough water to serve two typical Southland families for a year.

"The city of Colton appreciates the county's efforts