Benzene

The City of Lomita is responding to a detection of benzene at the City’s single groundwater well, Well No. 5, and is working with the State to investigate the source and hold accountable any parties responsible.

The City’s water sampling and testing program confirmed results of an annual water quality test conducted in May 2019 that showed levels of benzene exceeding State standards. The City immediately took the well offline and transitioned to importing water through its approved backup sources to eliminate benzene exposure.

In 2018, the City’s regular annual sampling showed benzene at a level well below the State’s threshold for health and safety but above the detection limit. Because samples were not collected between May 2018 and May 2019, the City cannot be sure of the water quality during that time.  It is important to note that the City’s normal operations include the provision of raw water blended with pre-treated imported water (generally approximately a 40/60 blend). As such, levels in the water that reached City residents were likely much lower than detected in the ground water alone.

The City is in the process of upgrading its water infrastructure with a new Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration system that will not only enhance the water’s aesthetics, per residents’ requests, but also remove the benzene that forced the Cypress Water Production Facility (CWPF) to close in 2019.

In May 2020, the Water Replenishment District (WRD) approved the GAC treatment project under the Safe Drinking Water Program and awarded the City grant funds for the project. Following the City Council’s unanimous selection of RC Foster Corporation to construct the new GAC filtration system, the project officially kicked off in March 2021.

The City has expedited the upgrades and looks forward to returning CWPF back to full normal operations in Summer 2022.

Information on this page, including Benzene News, Benzene FAQs and GAC project updates will continue to be updated as additional details become available. If you have questions about this matter, please send us your feedback by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab.