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Tussle with Lockheed over toxic clean up at airport heats up

December 16, 2010|By Bill Kisliuk; bill.kisliuk@latimes.com
(File photo )

Old chemical disposal pits on land owned by Bob Hope Airport are the source of new tensions in a three-way tango over who will pay to clean up contaminated groundwater.

Airport officials argue that Lockheed Martin, once a manufacturer on the land parcel, is responsible for the pits, which could be a major source of the underground contamination.

Lockheed, on the other hand, asserts the U.S. government used the pits.

Representatives for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ordered Bob Hope Airport to assist in the clean up, say aren’t sure who did what at the pits, which are part of larger contamination site that could cost $108 million to clear.

The one fact seemingly not in dispute is that one or more pits, apparently used for chemical disposal training or manufacturing, lie beneath the pavement at the southwest corner of the airport, near where railroad tracks cross Vineland Avenue.

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Airport spokesman Victor Gill said no manufacturing has taken place there since the airport bought the land from Lockheed in 1978.

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