U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA
Federal Facility, Superfund NPL

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Los Angeles
Water Treatment

Cleanup Objectives: Treat groundwater and soil through (1) on-facility soil vapor extraction to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the source area soil, (2) on-facility extraction, treatment, and reinjection to treat VOCs and perchlorate in source area groundwater, and (3) pumping of groundwater to an existing onsite treatment plant and a new off-facility municipal treatment plant for removal of residual VOCs and perchlorate

Green Remediation Strategy: Optimize pumping operations and treatment processes to be used by the off-facility municipal plant (funded by NASA) and implement green construction techniques for the plant through a partnership with the City of Pasadena

  • Collaborate with the City of Pasadena during the project's conceptual design phase, which allowed sufficient time to incorporate green strategies into design and construction
  • Offer a 1% contractor incentive for efforts supporting greening goals of Executive Order 13423
  • Use Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) construction criteria to plan stormwater management, outdoor lighting, waste management, materials reuse/recycling, and environmentally friendly material purchasing
  • Modify pumping configurations to reduce elevation changes and pipeline friction along the water transfer corridor between the production wells and the proposed water treatment facility
  • Optimize the proposed treatment system (liquid-phase granular activated carbon, ion exchange, filtration, and disinfection units) by negotiating with the water treatment vendor to remove post-filtration cartridge filters
  • Evaluate renewable energy options for the existing, co-located Windsor Reservoir facility owned by Pasadena Water and Power, including (1) an in-line micro-hydro turbine system for the pressure-reducing station and (2) a photovoltaic (PV) system
  • Evaluate more opportunities for reducing water intensity of well operations/flushing and treatment unit backwash, taking into account the high economic value of Los Angeles Basin water
  • Coordinate with Pasadena Water and Power to optimize decision-making regarding options such as a power purchase agreement, green power purchasing, peak shaving, peak shifting, and emergency power for the co-located facilities


  • Reduced the proposed water treatment system's pressure head as a result of optimization, which allowed integration of smaller pumps with lower energy demands
  • Reduced capital costs for the new municipal water treatment plant by $400,000 due to elimination of the original water treatment process involving post-filtration cartridge filters
  • Avoided $50,000/year and 330,000 pounds/year of greenhouse gas emissions due to reconfigured pumping and optimization, when compared to the original construction plan
  • Recycled 95% of the waste generated during construction of the municipal treatment plant, including 744 tons of rock, 48 tons of concrete, 8 tons of steel, and 5 tons of mixed debris
  • Used native, drought-tolerant plant species to landscape the new treatment plant, which included perimeter trees serving as a visual and noise buffer between the facility and nearby residences
  • [City of Pasadena] Began operating the new plant (known as the Monk Hill Transfer Station) at a location in the approximate center of the contaminated groundwater plume; since October 2011 startup, the plant has treated groundwater at a rate reaching 7,000 gallons per minute
  • Treating the plant wastewater (generated from periodic flushing and backwashing) and discharging it to an onsite spreading basin rather than discharging untreated wastewater to the sanitary sewer; this results in an estimated aquifer recharge of nearly 100 acre-feet each year
  • [City of Pasadena] Completed installation of a 564 kW roof-top PV system in May 2011 at the Windsor Reservoir facility adjacent to the Monk Hill Transfer Station; under a 20-year power purchase agreement, the PV system is expected to annually generate 869,158 kWh of energy (approximately 20% of the treatment system's electricity consumption, or the equivalent power used by 100 to 125 average Pasadena homes)
  • Contributing to sustainable environmental stewardship of the Los Angeles Basin, which suffers from VOC and perchlorate contamination caused by multiple sources

Property End Use: Ongoing missions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Point of Contact: Steven Slaten, NASA

Update: January 2012

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