San Fernando Basin Map provided by The River Project
San Fernando Basin (SF Basin)
(LADWP is LA Dept. of Water & Power) (TRP is The River Project)
(TRP) “In a reasonably healthy condition, the primary function of the watershed would be to infiltrate, filter and store local rainfall within its large underground reservoir: the San Fernando Groundwater Basin. The groundwater basins in the watershed are critical to local water supply. The capture, storage, and infiltration of snowmelt and stormwater in these basins have the potential to significantly increase the amount and reliability of local supplies.” (LADWP) “The SF Basin encompasses an area of approximately 175 square miles and it is about 1,200 feet deep. The area of the SF Basin roughly to the west of the San Diego Freeway has a low permeability (absorption) whereas the area roughly to the east of the San Diego Freeway has a high permeability. The depth of water in the area with high permeability, which contains the majority of the City of Los Angeles’ groundwater production wells, is between 30 to 375 feet below the ground surface elevation. Due to the San Fernando Valley topography and geology, the groundwater in the SF Basin primarily moves in a southeasterly direction towards the intersection of the Golden State and Glendale Freeways. The SF Basin and its watershed is a tributary to the Los Angeles River. The underground water eventually surfaces in the vicinity of the Los Angeles River and Glendale Freeway and flows out to the Pacific Ocean.”
Groundwater Supplies in the San Fernando Basin (SF Basin)
We have a huge ground water storage capacity in the San Fernando Valley. The blue areas in the map above show the places that are capable of storing water. To get the water from the reservoirs above into the ground water basins, spreading grounds are used and they are represented by the circles in green on the map. Per the LADWP 2010, “The local groundwater has historically provided approximately 11 to 15 percent of the city’s total water supply. During times of drought and/or emergencies, the local groundwater has provided up to 30 percent of the total water supply.”
(LADWP) The effective utilization and protection of our local groundwater is a key component of the City of Los Angeles’ Water Supply Action Plan. The SF Basin plays a very critical part in securing the future of our water supply. This is because the SF Basin groundwater accounts for more than 80% or 87,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) of the City of Los Angeles’ total local groundwater entitlements. The City of Los Angeles also has groundwater rights in Eagle Rock (500 AFY), Central (15,000 AFY), West Coast (1,503 AFY) and Sylmar (3,405 AFY) Basins. As per the River Project, “The City of Los Angeles owns water rights in two Upper Los Angeles River Area groundwater basins in the Tujunga Watershed: the San Fernando (under the lower watershed) and the Sylmar (in the area along the Pacoima Wash above Lopez Dam) with a combined capacity of 3,510,000 acre-feet. This water from the SF Basin is used as potable water after treatment to meet applicable drinking water standards. However, groundwater levels in these basins are well below capacity.”
‘The map below shows the distribution of solvents in groundwater and the locations of known solvent plumes in groundwater. High concentrations of solvents are generally clustered in the southern San Gabriel Valley and the central southern San Fernando Valley. Sources of solvents include metal plating, machinery degreasing, and dry cleaning. More than a dozen solvent plumes have been documented in the area (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009; San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority, 2011).
The discovery of solvents in San Gabriel Valley groundwater in 1980 led to the formation of the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority in 1993 and extensive treatment programs to remove volatile organic compounds from drinking-water supplies (San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority, 2011).’
Land Uses in Urbanized, Lower Tujunga Watershed
The multiplicity of Los Angeles County Public Works, Army Corp of Engineers, National Park Service, Los Angeles City Department of Water and Power, Unites States Environmental Protection Agency Superfund cleanup projects that overlap or exclude each other’s jurisdiction but effect each other jurisdictions – not to mention a number of projects that affect a greater area of the watershed from within one jurisdiction – is at present under no authority.
To have an orchestrated, coordinated approach, and best use of taxpayer and rate payer money related to the overall watershed mission to revitalize and localize water supply, recreational, and ecological wildlife corridors for flora and fauna, we are proposing to create a new regulatory agency/authority: the Tujunga-Pacoima Watershed Authority.
Several interrelated projects are currently or have recently concluded CEQA’s DEIR stage receiving public comment, although as stand alone engineering projects that do not reveal their actual interrelatedness with respect to the stakeholding and well-being of over a million people residing in the Tujunga-Pacoima watershed:
LADWP’s Tujunga Spreading Ground project public comment.
LADWP’s Groundwater Replenishment project with public comments due by October 21, 2013.
LA County DPW, National Park Service, Army Corp of Engineers Sediment Management and LADWP projects: Big Tujunga and Pacoima reservoirs and Debris Basin cleanouts accepting public comment on October 19 and October 22, 2013.
Metropolitan Water District’s controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan comprised of a pair of water conveyance tunnels approaching a $57 Billion ratepayer tab with public comments due by December 13, 2013.
Various references and maps:
Los Angeles Groundwater Replenishment Project
DWP to build groundwater treatment plants on Superfund site
Watermastering the ULARA Groundwater Basins
DWP To Slash Water Imports With San Fernando Basin Treatment Facility
Groundwater Replenishment Project: Two Scoping Meetings Set For October 2013
San Fernando Valley Groundwater Model
Hydrology and Water quality-Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project Environmental Impact and Mitigation
San Fernando Valley TCE Deep plume map in 1998
This and more plume maps are available here: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r9/sfund/r9sfdocw.nsf/3dc283e6c5d6056f88257426007417a2/501fef37208275ff88257007007dce4c!OpenDocument
The San Fernando Valley Superfund Sites are located in the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley (see the map), between the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains. The San Fernando Valley is an important source of drinking water for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the cities of Glendale, Burbank, and San Fernando, La Canada- Flintridge, and the unincorporated area of La Crescenta. There are four separate areas comprising the San Fernando Superfund Site:(1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and(4) Pollock/Los Angeles.
The information on this page applies to the San Fernando Valley Superfund Sites overall. For information specific to the four individual areas, click the links above and visit the web pages for the separate areas (or see additional links below).
San Fernando Valley Site overview: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r9/sfund/r9sfdocw.nsf/webdisplay/oid-87ab7077fd4dd34888256613007b884c?OpenDocument
Addressing Chromium Contamination in the San Fernando Valley:
“The big challenge is to get more water into the groundwater systems,” Phillips said. He is working on a geographic solution to that problem in Stanislaus County, where he’s been creating a 3-D computerized mapping system to identify places where the aquifer can be recharged most easily. By flooding fields that have the right soils, Phillips said, water can drain down to help refill underground basins for future use.
He said some California communities even have had success using recycled water to recharge groundwater basins.
Whatever the solution, protecting California’s groundwater is critical, insisted Ruth Langridge, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who is researching groundwater reserves. “Enforceable standards for groundwater withdrawals” are needed to secure water supplies for the future. Although there currently are few restrictions on pumping, she said, “cities and counties have an ability to pass ordinances to manage their groundwater.”