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San Diego County Grand Jury Says City Should Independently Monitor Groundwater Contamination

Aired 5/21/13 on KPBS News.

Grand jury's report is the product of an inquiry into the effects of numerous oil spills from the Mission Valley Terminal just north of Qualcomm Stadium.

The San Diego County grand jury is worried that city officials aren’t doing enough to monitor groundwater contamination in Mission Valley.

Fans walk into Qualcomm Stadium.
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Above: Fans walk into Qualcomm Stadium.

Multiple oil spills over the last 30 years from the terminal have created a plume underneath Qualcomm Stadium. Kinder Morgan Energy is currently cleaning up the plume. But the grand jury is concerned that the city is relying on the soil and groundwater analysis done by the company and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board for its assessment of the scope of the contamination.

“We thought that since the city property itself was being contaminated specifically under Qualcomm Stadium, that it might be in the city’s best interest to have their own monitoring capability," said Paul Christian, foreman of the county grand jury.

The city sued Kinder Morgan six years ago accusing the company of dragging its feet in the plume cleanup. A federal judge ruled in favor of Kinder Morgan. The city is appealing the case. In response to the grand jury report, San Diego City Councilwoman Lori Zapf, whose district includes Mission Valley, said the findings illustrate why the city’s lawsuit against Kinder Morgan is so vital.

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