Airport officials have asked a federal judge to order Lockheed Corp., also listed in the order, to cover the airport's portion of the cleanup costs. The legal maneuver follows a July 6 letter in which the EPA named the Burbank airport as a "potentially responsible party" for the decades-old ground contamination.
Officials with the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority say the contamination — including groundwater contaminated by chromium, dioxane and volatile organic compounds — occurred when Lockheed manufactured planes and equipment on the site acquired by the airport authority in 1978.
"We're not responsible for any of the contamination and should not be exposed to any of the costs," said Dan Feger, executive director for the airport authority. "We just had nothing to do with it."
Lockheed and other manufacturing firms have for years been paying into a cleanup fund for groundwater contamination in the San Fernando Valley — a vestige of area's history as major aerospace production hub.
On Wednesday, the company defended its track record of working to clean up contamination. However, Lockheed officials said the firm does not intend to cover the airport's costs.
"Lockheed Martin has a long-standing history of stepping up and taking responsibility for the cleanup costs associated with its former operations in the San Fernando Valley," spokeswoman Gail Rymer said in an e-mail. "We have been paying, and continue to pay, our fair share of the costs while working cooperatively with the EPA and the other responsible parties."
The EPA has given the airport and Lockheed and 19 other parties until Sept. 3 to come to agreement on who will pay what. The agency said it has already incurred $13 million in cleanup costs, according to its July 6 letter.
While much of the groundwater in the region was contaminated by heavy industrial uses in the past, the area under contention extends east from North Hollywood to the runways at Bob Hope Airport.
If the airport is saddled with the cleanup costs, it would be forced to raise parking or other fees to pay for it, Feger said.
"In its attempt to spread liability for clean-up, the EPA is taking some of the liability off the back of Lockheed, who caused it, and forcing our passengers — who had nothing to do with it — to pay for it," he said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of potentially responsible parties for what is estimated to be a $108-million clean-up of contaminated groundwater.
Aircraft Service Intl, Inc.
Benz Disposal Co.
Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority
California Car Hikers Service
Hawker Pacific Aerospace
Hayward Associates LLC